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Gaining experience of higher studies through undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses in the United States of America has become more of a trend.
With top-notch facilities coupled with high quality education and ample job opportunities makes studying in USA a very bright prospect for Indian students. But not all can afford the cost of living and accommodation and the tuition fee. Thus scholarships become a very important part for a student who is travelling to the US for higher education.
There are three types of scholarships that are provided to international students. Need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships and Sports scholarships. The average fee including tuition, accommodation and basic facilities adds to about an average of $40,000 a year. This is quite a huge amount which can be very tough to muster for many middle class Indian families. In such situations, a sports scholarship goes a long way in bearing the student expenses. It covers about 50-80 percent of student’s overall fees, depending on the academic and extra-curricular performance. For international students to play a sport in the US, first they need to register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The top colleges in USA are divided into two divisions, D1 and D2. Every college provides different sporting opportunities so the student needs to be very active and efficient while preparing a list of colleges to apply. In the end, it is on the student to shine and make a mark in front of the university sports coaches to get recognized and recruited.According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, more than 150,000 student-athletes receive around $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships each year. Scholarships are either partial scholarships which are about $18,000 per student- athlete, or are a full ride (free education). But there are some regulations which are needed to be fulfilled by the incoming students. The students must finish at least 16 credit courses and gain a minimum GPA of 2.3 to become eligible for a sports scholarship.
Here are some of the top colleges that offer sports scholarships for sports familiar to Indians.
Duke University is one of the finest universities for Student-Athletes in the US. It has a low acceptance rate of about 10 percent. It is famous for its majors in Economics and Computer Science. It offers sports like football, tennis, table tennis,etc. But it is very well known for its Men’s Basketball Team. This team competes in NCAA Division 1 Atlantic Coast Conference. Duke provides Athletic Grant of about $37000 for a first time freshman, which covers about 50-70 percent of the tuition fees, depending on the type of major selected. A full time undergraduate receives around $3700 per semester as aid, depending on the academic and extra-curricular performances of the student. About 68% of students here are covered properly with financial aid. The average financial aid received by a student athlete is $24,904
(Source: US Department of Education).The graduation rate is 95%, which makes it an imperial institute to study in, guaranteeing a secure future for students.
Stanford University is another renowned college located in the San Francisco Bay area. Although it is the one that is dreamt of by most computer science geeks, it also is one of the best universities in the United States for Psychology and is very famous for student athletes. The acceptance rate here is only 5%, which makes it extremely difficult to get into this college. But with 94% graduation rate, if you get into this university, in Indian terms “Life set hai!”. Cardinal Athletics is what Stanford has thrived on since 1891. It had officially adopted Indian symbol and nickname for its teams. Basketball, Fencing, Golf, Swimming, Gymnastics, etc are among the 36 different sports that are provided to the student athletes. It has won 142 NCAA Championships, thereby being the Nation’s all time-leader in team championships, and has had 167 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars. 350 sports scholarships are offered to around 900 students taking part in inter-college championships. Stanford University competes in the Pacific-12 Conference. As far as the Indians are concerned, Stanford does offer special Women’s Tennis scholarships which cover almost 66% of the tuition and accommodation expenses. Average financial aid for sports athletes is about $24,734 (Source: US Department of Education).About 34% of the student athletes receive sports scholarships, which proves that you need to be at the top of your game in Stanford to receive financial aid.
University Of Southern California
University of Southern California is located in Los Angeles. It has a relatively high acceptance rate of 17% compared to that of other colleges. This makes it more achievable as far as Indian students are concerned. This university is particularly famous for its Masters in Business and Communication, Design, Film and Photography,etc. University of Southern California competes in 25 sports and has a total of 678 student athletes, 322 men and 356 women. It is the best ranked university in Men’s outdoor track and field. Also its ranking in tennis and football is relatively very high. It is ranked 6th in Women’s Golf and sixth in Women’s swimming. Female athletes get about 65.8% of the aid that male athletes get. Many scholarships are awarded where the tennis scholarship for the first time fresher is around $34,000 whereas a full time undergraduate gets about $41,000 in total. The average sports aid received by sports athletes is $27,403 (Source: US Department of Education). With a higher acceptance rate and good reputation for sports like tennis and swimming along with 92% graduation rate, Indians can ear-mark this college as a potential launch pad for a successful career.
University of Florida
Unlike other universities mentioned above, University of Florida is a public University located in Gainesville, Florida. It has a very high acceptance rate of 42%, but a relatively low 88% graduation rate. It is voted as the best college for athletics in America. It is famous for is majors in Biology and Liberal Arts and Humanities. It is also one of the very few universities that gives a good sports management program. This is a university that would be ideal for a relatively lower budget, given that 94% of the students receive financial aid from the university. University of Florida competes in the Southeastern Conference. It is very famous for its men’s football team Florida Gators. Swimming, tennis, Volleyball,etc. are the other sports that University of Florida competes in University of Florida offers Football Scholarships of about $14,000 to first time freshers, which covers almost 90% of its yearly tuition fees. But this fee varies with respect to their performance in academics and sports There are almost 650 student athletes studying here, with average financial aid per athlete is about $17,000 (Source: US Department of Education). It has consistently finished in the top 10 in the last 36 national all-sports standings.Thus,football lovers can consider this as a good opportunity with its high acceptance rate and exposure.
University of Michigan
Ranked number one among the public universities in the United States, University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It has a relatively medium acceptance rate of 27%. It is famous for its Masters in Business and Experimental Physiology. University of Michigan competes in the Big Ten Athletic Conference.University of Michigan competes in 29 sports like football, swimming, track and field, golf, tennis, basketball,etc. Athletic scholarships are offered for 26 of these sports but it depends on the coach’s request to give the student a partial or full scholarship, depending on the spark observed in the student. Scholarships are offered yearly. About 700 student athletes have received the non-need athletic grant of about $27,000 which will vary with the student’s performance.
There are a total of about 1100 student-athletes. Average aid per athlete is about $21,500 (Source: US Department of Education). University of Michigan has consistently done well in Men’s Football and Men’s Gymnastics.It is also ranked top 10 in Swimming and Wrestling.Women’s water Polo and Women’s Gymnasts are also ranked very high as far as University of Michigan is concerned. So with the mix of private and public universities mentioned above, aspiring Indian Students can safely plan their shortlisting of colleges and the sports that they aspire to play in it.