7 Steps To Financing Your Education

Earlier this month, we blogged on the often overlooked opportunities for being a student-athlete for NCAA Division II or III in a 2 part series. (Part 1; Part 2)  There are other great colleges with amazing programs in NAIA and NJCAA as well to get your education while still continuing with your sport. However, with some of these smaller colleges, it is more likely (compared to NCAA Division I schools) to only receive a partial athletic scholarship offer or maybe a walk-on position. But when you fall in love with the low student-professor ratios in your academic major, smaller friendly campus, and an awesome athletic opportunity, it begs to be asked: how do you pay for this great opportunity?

Some of you are probably thinking, can’t I just ask the coach or financial aid office for a better offer? The answer is complicated: It depends on the circumstances. Typically, unless your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) changes for some special circumstances, (as evaluated through doing your FAFSA), it is highly unlikely to change your offer much beyond $500-2000. I would also be very delicate in approaching this with a coach as you don’t want to seem ungrateful for your current offer.

I believe it’s vital for you to also know an important fact that numerous recruits and their parents often do not think about during the process. Almost every coach wants to give out a full scholarship to recruits they want in their program, but…..they only are given a certain “pot” of money to use across the whole team based on regulations by the governing body, (NCAA DI or DII, NAIA, etc), their conference, and the school. You would be surprised how many athletic programs are not fully funded to the conference maximums or governing body allows. This is simply because the institution decides how much aid will be used for athletics. Trust me, if they aren’t fully funded, that coach isn’t happy about it, but can do little to change that situation. They have to find ways to make their allotment work across their whole team, and for sports with equivalencies requirements, this can be challenging. It’s not that they don’t think you “deserve” more athletic scholarship money. It’s that they simply don’t have it in their “checking account”.

It will be up to you to find other resources to finance your education.

A few weeks ago, we discussed how applying for financial aid through submitting your FAFSA can help provide other federal and state grants, loans, and scholarships in the blog “What If My Athletic Scholarship Offer Wasn’t A FULL RIDE?: 9 Most Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions”. But what about those local community based scholarships that aren’t part of the FAFSA? Or the local bank helping to fund your college education? Or get this, did you know there is even a $1000 for a lefthander’s scholarship? Or for making a unique duck-calling? Yes, you read that right! (Sidenote: I would love to be on the committee choosing the winners for this one!!!!!)

To tackle the best ways to approach applying for community scholarships, I have called in an expert colleague, Monica Matthews, to chime in this week. She is the author of “How To Win College Scholarships: A Guide For Parents in 10 Easy Steps”. After helping her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships, she now loves to share her expertise with other parents. Her method of helping desperate families in finding scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, and creating amazing scholarship application packets help many win thousands of scholarship dollars each year. She is the real deal.

Monica Matthews:

As families scramble to fill the gap between the school’s offer and the total cost of attendance at the college, it’s important to know there are thousands of scholarship dollars up for grabs to students who hustle to apply.Where do student athletes and their parents find such scholarships? First, don’t try typing “scholarships” into your internet browser and expect to find quality scholarships with current awards and upcoming deadlines. This method only leads to “clicking to nowhere” in the vast world of cyberspace and click bait. Instead, follow these 7 SMART tips to locate and apply for as many as possible. The more a student applies for, the more comfortable they become with the process, and the more applications submitted increased chances of winning!

  1. Narrow down the online search. When searching on the internet, be very specific. For example, “engineering scholarships 2020” or “scholarships for high school juniors in 2018.” This is a great way to find current opportunities related to students based on their status, interests, and talents.
  2. Sign-up for 2-3 scholarship matching sites and bookmark other sites to check often for new awards. Check out Fastweb.com, Scholarships.com, and StudentScholarshipSearch.com are wonderful for finding scholarships. Make sure to create a dedicated scholarship professional email address, making it easier to filter as they tend to send out a ton of correspondence!
  3. Regularly read scholarship lists on ALL local high school websites (not just the one the student attends). High school counselors update scholarship opportunities often and most are local scholarships with less competition than bigger national awards.
  4. College websites are another great source for finding scholarships. Most have lists of awards for admitted students and current students. Bonus tip: Some of these scholarships are general awards offered to any student, even if they do not end up attending that university!
  5. Read local newspapers and see if there is a “Names in the News” section for local scholarship winners. This a great way to find more awards offered only to local students. Take detailed notes and add the scholarships to the student’s list when they meet qualifications.
  6. Check with local community foundations, credit unions, banks, churches, and businesses. These organizations often offer scholarships to local students. If there are no scholarships listed on their websites or in newsletters, encourage the student politely inquire if such an award is offered.
  7. Enter scholarship contests and drawings, but do NOT spend hours completing surveys and filling out forms. Many of these sites, such as ScholarshipPoints.com, give away free points to members each week and students do not have to do any surveys to win real money for college. Students need to also remember not to give out personal information such as social security numbers or banking details when signing up for scholarship contests and drawings.

If your student-athlete is not awarded enough money based on financial need (FAFSA), academic, or athletic abilities, these options can provide you ways to search out the right steps. Student loan debt has become an epidemic in today’s society and a great way to combat this problem is to apply for other scholarships. Parents can partner with their students and help them apply by finding scholarships, proofreading essays, and sending deadline reminders via texts. I helped my son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and would love to share more of my winning strategies with you!

Thanks for sharing these great tips Monica!

Would you like help with the college recruiting process?

1. Go to www.lookingforafullride.com to get your FREE Report: Strategies to Emailing A College Coach. 


2. Want some help with the recruiting process? Join some of our 9 Facebook Groups:

3. Would you like her to do individual consulting with your family to get an insider’s perspective?
Email info@lookingforafullride.com for more details.

4. Did you know Coach Renee Lopez can come to your school or sports organization?

Email info@lookingforafullride.com for more details.


Coach Renee Lopez

Looking for a Full Ride? by: Coach Renee Lopez

As a 17 year coaching veteran, Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level.

She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured on ESPN Radio, and is the author of the book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide” where she interviewed 65 college recruiters across all sports and college levels.

She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at info@lookingforafullride.com.

Monica Matthews

Monica Matthews is the author of “How to Win College Scholarships” and helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships. She now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.  Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.  Her scholarship tips have been titled the “Go To” expert on college scholarships.  Click “How to Win College Scholarships” to contact her!