Question: Div. III Schools and Scholarships
I've been hearing conflicting stories about D-3 colleges giving athletic scholarships.  My daughter has been getting a few calls from D-3 coaches. However, these schools are too expensive for us unless she gets money.  Her grades are not good enough to get an academic scholarship.  Do we just come right out and ask these coaches instead of guessing?

Answer: Div. III Schools and Scholarships

It's not unusual to hear conflicting stories because many parents tend to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the truth a bit when discussing their athlete's financial aid situation in college.  Tuition scholarships become full rides; aid packages based on need, ethnicity, or academics become athletic scholarships; and so on.  However, Div. III
schools cannot offer athletic-based aid, period. Each school administers financial aid differently though, so a D-III school with generous aid may do everything it can to help families afford the cost of attending.

But no matter what you hear, a coach at a D-III school simply will not come up to you and say, "We can get Susie athletic money."  You will probably have to go through the financial aid application process at each school to see what they might offer.  Don't be afraid to do this or assume you won't qualify.  Private schools vary greatly in how much they give and how they administer funds.  So, while one school might offer you $5000 out of $28,000, another might give her $21000 out of $40,000.  Also keep in mind that most athletes getting softball scholarships are getting partial amounts only. Often the aid package a D-III school puts together may be better than the pure "softball" money a D-II or D-I might offer.

Finally, if she really wants to play softball, consider investigating some good junior colleges. She could play for two years at an affordable cost while getting her lower division courses out of the way, and then, if she still wants to play, she could transfer to a 4-year college.  Hope this helps.  Good luck!