Division 2 Colleges and Athletic Scholarships: What You Need to Know

Division 2 Colleges and Athletic Scholarships: What You Need to Know

When it comes to pursuing a college education while also participating in athletics, many student-athletes aspire to receive athletic scholarships. These scholarships can provide financial support and open doors to opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. While Division 1 colleges are well-known for offering athletic scholarships, there is often confusion surrounding Division 2 colleges. Can Division 2 colleges give athletic scholarships? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide valuable insights into the world of Division 2 athletic scholarships.

Understanding Division 2 Colleges

Before delving into the topic of athletic scholarships, it is important to have a clear understanding of what Division 2 colleges are. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) categorizes colleges and universities into three divisions based on their athletic programs and resources. Division 2 is the middle tier, falling between the highly competitive Division 1 and the more community-focused Division 3.

Division 2 colleges offer a wide range of sports programs, including popular sports like basketball, soccer, and baseball, as well as lesser-known sports like golf, swimming, and lacrosse. These colleges often have smaller student populations compared to Division 1 institutions, which can create a more intimate and supportive environment for student-athletes.

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The Myth of No Athletic Scholarships

One common misconception about Division 2 colleges is that they do not offer athletic scholarships. This myth stems from the fact that Division 2 colleges are not allowed to offer “full-ride” scholarships like those available in Division 1. However, this does not mean that Division 2 colleges cannot provide any financial assistance to student-athletes.

Division 2 colleges are permitted to offer partial scholarships to student-athletes. These scholarships can cover a portion of the student’s tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. While they may not cover the entire cost of attendance, they can still significantly reduce the financial burden on student-athletes and their families.

Partial Scholarships and Financial Aid

Division 2 colleges often use a combination of athletic scholarships and other forms of financial aid to support their student-athletes. In addition to partial athletic scholarships, student-athletes may also be eligible for academic scholarships, need-based grants, and other forms of financial assistance.

For example, a student-athlete with exceptional academic achievements may receive an academic scholarship from the college, in addition to a partial athletic scholarship. This combination of scholarships can make attending a Division 2 college more affordable and accessible for talented student-athletes.

Read:Is Northwestern University a Provider of Merit-Based Scholarships?

Case Studies: Division 2 Athletic Scholarships

To further illustrate the availability and impact of Division 2 athletic scholarships, let’s explore a few case studies:

Case Study 1: Sarah’s Soccer Scholarship

Sarah is a talented soccer player who dreams of playing at the collegiate level. She receives interest from both Division 1 and Division 2 colleges. While Division 1 colleges offer her full-ride scholarships, Sarah ultimately chooses a Division 2 college that offers her a partial athletic scholarship.

Although the Division 2 scholarship does not cover all of Sarah’s expenses, it significantly reduces the financial burden on her family. Additionally, the smaller class sizes and supportive environment at the Division 2 college align better with Sarah’s academic and personal goals.

Case Study 2: John’s Baseball Scholarship

John is a talented baseball player who receives interest from both Division 1 and Division 2 colleges. Despite receiving full-ride scholarship offers from Division 1 colleges, John decides to accept a partial athletic scholarship from a Division 2 college.

John’s decision is influenced by several factors. Firstly, the Division 2 college offers a strong academic program in his desired field of study. Secondly, the coaching staff at the Division 2 college has a track record of developing players and helping them transition to professional baseball. Lastly, the smaller campus and close-knit community at the Division 2 college appeal to John’s personal preferences.

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Statistics on Division 2 Athletic Scholarships

While case studies provide anecdotal evidence, it is also helpful to examine statistics to gain a broader understanding of Division 2 athletic scholarships. According to the NCAA, Division 2 colleges awarded over $1 billion in athletic scholarships during the 2019-2020 academic year.

This significant investment in athletic scholarships demonstrates the commitment of Division 2 colleges to supporting their student-athletes. While the exact amount of each scholarship varies depending on the sport, the athlete’s skill level, and other factors, these scholarships play a crucial role in making college more affordable for student-athletes.


Contrary to popular belief, Division 2 colleges can indeed offer athletic scholarships. While these scholarships may not cover the full cost of attendance, they can still provide significant financial support to student-athletes. Division 2 colleges often combine athletic scholarships with other forms of financial aid, such as academic scholarships and need-based grants, to create comprehensive financial packages for their student-athletes.

By understanding the availability and impact of Division 2 athletic scholarships, student-athletes can make informed decisions about their college choices. These scholarships can open doors to educational and athletic opportunities, allowing student-athletes to pursue their passions while also receiving a quality education.

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