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 at 24 regions. The NJCAA sponsors the following sports: baseball, basketball, bowling, cross-country, football, golf, ice hockey, indoor and outdoor track and field, lacrosse, softball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, half marathons, 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.) Participation in the NJCAA is not reliant on where a recruit graduated from high school. Students must be high school graduates or equivalent - where they received their credentials is not a factor considered in eligibility. Students are allowed a maximum of two seasons of competition in any sport at a NJCAA college, and must be full-time students while they're playing those sports. In order to be eligible for a second season of participation, students must have accumulated 24 earned/passing semester hours and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students must also be amateur athletes - meaning their athleticism is not a vocation or source of personal monetary gains.
To best determine individual eligibility, each individual should discuss their eligibility with their athletic personnel at the NJCAA college where they have decided to attend. A NJCAA letter of intent is used to commit individuals to a specific institution for a period of one academic year. This form is only valid for NJCAA members and has no jurisdiction over NCAA or NAIA colleges.
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.