Swimming student-athlete Rafael Miroslaw in the water

How to Get a Fully Funded Sports Scholarship in the USA

Begin your path to secure a full ride scholarship for an American university!

A fully funded sport scholarship is your opportunity to combine sports with a university degree - without worrying about financial aid. Here is everything you need to know about "full ride scholarships" and how to get one!

Do you dream about playing sports and studying in America? A fully funded sports scholarship is your opportunity to combine sports with a university degree – without worrying about financial aid. Here is everything you need to know about sports scholarships and how to get one!

What do sport scholarships cover?

A fully funded sports scholarship, also known as a full ride scholarship, covers all university costs. Besides tuition and fees, full rides typically cover accommodation and meals, medical insurance, books, and other expenses. Some universities provide athletes with a monthly stipend to cover these costs. Full ride scholarships, like all offers, are one-year agreements that are renewed annually.

Universities also offer partial athletic scholarships, which cover only a portion of the costs associated with attending university. Student-athletes often combine partial sports scholarships with other forms of financial aid such as academic scholarships, loans, or external scholarships.


Sports scholarships according to division

NCAA Division I universities offer the highest level of competition and the most substantial scholarships. Division II universities also provide athletic scholarships, though typically less generous. Division III universities do not offer athletic scholarships but can provide other forms of financial aid such as academic scholarships.

NAIA universities are typically smaller colleges that offer competitive athletic programs and scholarships similar to those in NCAA Division II. Lastly, in the NJCAA, you can find two-year colleges that also provide scholarships.

Track and field student-athlete Anna Cabrera

Steps to Secure a Sport Scholarship

1. Start Early 
Begin the process as early as possible, ideally by your second or third year of high school. This allows plenty of time to prepare all the requirements and information that university coaches will ask for.

2. Academic Preparation 
Maintaining academic performance is crucial. Even if you’re applying for a sports scholarship, you need to have a strong academic profile.

3. Athletic Performance 
Playing for a top club or in a top league will open the doors for more universities. But you don’t need to have the best career record to get a fully funded sports scholarship; you just need to differentiate yourself. Keep track of your statistics and create a highlight video showcasing your best performances. Coaches often want to watch a highlight video as well as full-game videos.

Attend camps and showcase events where university coaches can see you play in person. These events are excellent opportunities to demonstrate your skills and gain direct exposure. Check our upcoming showcases in Europe and register to meet your next coach.

4. Use Sports Recruitment Services and Experts
The recruitment process can be complex, especially for international students who might not be familiar with the American education system and the different requirements. This is where a college sports recruitment agency comes in. At Keystone Sports, we specialise in connecting talented UK students with universities in the USA.

Our services include:

  • Academic and athletic preparation: We guide you in all the documentation needed to create your profile as well as academic level tests.
  • Personalized Guidance:
    We help you identify universities that match your profile and interests.
  • Coach Connections:
    We leverage our network to introduce you to coaches from different universities.
  • Scholarship Negotiation:  We work to ensure you receive the best possible scholarship offers.
  • Application Assistance:
    Our experts assist with the entire application process, from compiling necessary documents to getting your visa.
Swimming student-athlete Rafael Miroslaw in the water

A full athletic scholarship is a challenging but achievable goal with the right approach and support. Our team of experts will help you achieve your dream of studying and competing in America.

Fill out our quick free assessment form to find out your chances of securing a sports scholarship!

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About the author

Lorena Montañés

Current student-athlete in the United States completing an MBA in Business Analytics. Born in Pamplona, Spain, she decided to continue her football career in the US. She played DI football at California State University, Fresno, while earning a double degree in Mass Communication and Journalism, and Psychology. She aims to empower other student-athletes to achieve their dreams and have a life-changing experience.

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