If you’re planning on going to a community college and playing on a junior college sports team, you could be eligible for funding from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), which awards full and partial scholarships, or grant-in-aid awards, to talented athletes at its 525 member colleges. The NJCAA sponsors the following sports: fall and spring baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, fall and spring golf, ice hockey, indoor and outdoor track and field, spring and fall lacrosse, fall and spring softball, fall and spring soccer, swimming and diving, fall and spring tennis, fall and spring volleyball, and wrestling. Division I colleges may offer full scholarships, Division II colleges may only award funding for tuition, fees, and books, and Division III colleges do not award any funding for athletics.
Eligibility requirements may vary by school, so for more information about obtaining an athletic scholarship through the NJCAA at a specific community college, you will need to contact the athletic department at the school you are interested in attending. The general requirements for prospective NJCAA student-athletes are the following: Students must be a high school graduate, have received a high school equivalency diploma, or have been certified as having passed a national test such as the General Education Development Test (GED). (Non-high school graduates can establish eligibility by completing one term of college work and passing 12 credits with a 1.75 GPA or higher.) Students are allowed two seasons of competition in any sport at a NJCAA college, and must be full-time students while they’re playing those sports.
Remember that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) isn’t your only option if you’re a student-athlete. And if you do transfer to an NCAA college after your two years playing your sport at a community college, the GPA and standardized test score requirements are different than on the NJCAA level. For more information about opportunities from the NJCAA, visit www.njcaa.org.
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