The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) offers scholarships
on both the Division I and Division II level. Division III level sports do not offer
scholarship funding. While the association will have fewer scholarships to go around
than the more expansive NCAA as there are fewer members schools, the requirements
of getting onto a team and staying there at an NAIA school are less strict. NAIA
schools tend to be smaller (there are nearly 300 member colleges and universities
throughout the United States and Canada), with many located in the Midwest. The
NAIA offers national championships for men in cross country, soccer, football, indoor
and outdoor track and field, swimming and diving, wrestling, basketball, baseball,
tennis, and golf. Women’s national championships are offered in volleyball, soccer,
cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, swimming and diving, basketball,
softball, tennis, and golf.
To be eligible for athletic scholarship funding from an NAIA school, students must have
two of the following three criteria: have a minimum ACT score of 18 or minimum SAT
score of 860, have a minimum 2.0 GPA, or have graduated high school in the top half
of your graduating class. Few NAIA schools will offer full ride scholarships to
athletes, but partial scholarships are more common. To receive funding and to play
on a team, you must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours. You’ll need to contact
the athletic department of the school you’d like to attend to determine whether
that school is funding the sport you’re interested in. While the NAIA may allow
for a generous amount of funding per sport per school, it is up to the school to
decide whether to fund scholarships in that particular sport.
Don’t rule out NAIA schools when looking for colleges where you could be a student-athlete.
For more information about opportunities from the NAIA, visit