Are you OK with non-athletic aid and a great lifestyle? Check out NCAA Division III.

You can get scholarship help in NCAA Division III—you just can’t get it for your sports skills. This division uses no athletic scholarships, but 80 percent of its athletes get aid based on need or merit. Coaches here know a lot about non-athletic grants and scholarships, so ask them about your options. Division III is more about college life than about prepping for pro sports; you’re given time to focus on classes and enjoy the campus. Each Division III school sets its own admissions rules, so it’s good to look online and ask coaches what you should do in tests and courses to make the team.

Life looks different in Division III. It’s the NCAA’s biggest division, with 445 colleges, and it’s the only one that doesn’t use athletic scholarships. But there are a lot of ways for athletes in this division to get help with college costs while they enjoy the great lifestyle that Division III provides.

It’s fair to wonder what’s so great about a division with no athletic aid. The big advantage is its culture. Division III gives you a balanced college life—you can compete in your sport but still have plenty of time to study for classes or hang out with friends. Your sports schedule keeps you close to campus—you have a lot regional play and not many cross-country trips—so you can keep that balanced life.

Even if there’s not athletic aid in Division III, there are many ways to get help with college costs. Eighty percent of Division III athletes get aid based on merit or need. You won’t get anything extra for being an athlete—an NCAA rule says you can get the same amount as, but not more than, other students in your college program. Because Division III coaches are used to working without athletic scholarships, most of them are knowledgeable about non-athletic grants and scholarships. It’s a good idea to talk with them about your financial options.

If you don’t mind getting financial help for reasons other than your sports skills, then look at Division III. The lifestyle can be awesome, and this can be a way for you to make a great college team.

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