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 - NAIA-participating schools have less-strict rules when it comes to being on a collegiate team. With roughly 300 member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada, the NAIA offers financial aid to cover tuition costs, mandatory fees, books and supplies, and room and board based on the official room and board allowance by the institution. The NAIA offers both men and women the opportunity to compete at his or her highest level. There are NAIA National Championships for men in cross country, soccer, football, indoor and outdoor track and field, swimming and diving, wrestling, volleyball, basketball, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, 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, lacrosse, and golf.
Each school will determine how much aid it awards to an individual student-athlete. Under no conditions may anyone else provide direct financial assistance to any student-athlete. Scholarships, grants-in-aid, or student loans are controlled by each school through the same committed that handles all student loans and scholarships. There are limits on the total amount of financial it can award as full or partial grants to students in that sport. Academically gifted students may be exempted from these limits if they meet grade or test score criteria established by the NAIA.
If you will graduate from a U.S. high school in the spring and enroll in college in the fall, the requirements are that as an entering freshman, you must: be a graduate of an accredited high school or be accepted as a regular student in good standing as defined by the enrolling institution. You must also meet two of the three following requirements: you must achieve a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT; achieve a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, or graduate in the top half of your high school class. If you are a GED student, you must have achieved a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT - there are no GPA or class rank requirements. Home school students must have scored a 20 on the ACT or 950 on the SAT to be considered eligible. International students must meet the same requirements as U.S. high school graduates.
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 http://naia.cstv.com
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