Question: Should parents take into consideration what a school has available in their scholarship coffer for their child's prospective year? And is that even a question one would ask to a coach? Also, is there any way to know what schools have offered in order to know what they have to give? My thinking is that a parent might want to send their child to one school's camp more than another school's camp based upon what both programs might have left to offer to their child's graduating class.
Answer: The problem you face is that it's nearly impossible to find out what a college coach might be prepared to offer your player until they decide to offer it to her. You can always ask how many scholarships they have---e.g., Div. I schools are allowed a total of 12, although many don't have 12. They might have 2 or 6 or 9...or percentages thereof. Div. II schools are allowed just over 7 scholarships. These are totals, not annual amounts, so one year a coach might have 2 or 3 scholarships to split among 4 or 5 recruits, while another year, the coach might have 1 scholarship and be in need of the same 4 or 5 recruits.
You can ask a coach how much money he/she will have in a given year, but that can be a very quick way to turn a coach's interest elsewhere unless he or she has already decided your player will be a major impact player on their team. With so many parents prepared to pay for their players to be on certain teams, some coaches just don't bother with families who will only talk scholarships...again unless that player could single-handedly turn the team around.
All coaches would love to give full rides to all players, of course, but the reality is that even at Top 25 D-I programs, unless a player is perceived as a potential All American as a freshmen, she's not likely to be offered a full ride. The overwhelming majority of players who do get athletic based aid get partial amounts---at least as freshmen. They may have the chance to earn more money if they produced as expected/hoped for, and you can always ask a coach who's recruiting your player if there might be additional athletic money available in succeeding year (assuming she's offered partial money her first year.)
Smart parents will not only save for college, but also investigate alternative means of funding such as academic based aid (there's way more of this), diversity based aid, and so on. After all, if your athlete decides she wants to attend a particular school that's not offering athletic aid, or she's injured and can't play or simply decides she no longer wants to play, you'll have to come up with another way to pay for her education!
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