Although it may seem that a lot of students earn athletic scholarships, the truth is that scholarships only go to about one percent of students. Between $1 and $2 billion dollars are awarded in athletic scholarships yearly. Usually, an athletic scholarship only covers a portion of a student's tuition and other fees. If you have athletic ability and talent, you can still try to land a scholarship to the school of your choice, but should also explore other financial aid options.
The average athletic scholarship awarded to a student each year is around $8,707, according to a report in the New York Times. Some student athletes receive far less, around $2,000 per year. The cost of going a school in a National College Athletic Association (NCAA) starts around $20,000 per year on average, so some athletic scholarships will only cover 10 percent of the cost.
Only schools belonging to divisions I and II of the NCAA may offer athletic scholarships to students. If you are looking at a school in Division III, you'll have to find another source for aid, such as an academic scholarship.
Students who play certain sports may be more likely to receive a scholarship. Male ice hockey players, for example, received an average scholarship of $21,755. Female ice hockey players also received relatively high scholarship amounts. Sports such as bowling and baseball were not awarded very high scholarship amounts.
If you receive an athletic scholarship for your first year of school, you are not guaranteed to receive a scholarship for subsequent years, which can put a damper on your educational plans if you rely on that scholarship for aid. It's not possible to receive an automatic, 4-year scholarship. Your scholarship can be canceled for a number of reasons. Obviously, if you quit playing the sport, you will lose the scholarship.