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Division 3 Athletes Can Get Scholarship Money – and Can Play Pro Sports

| September 12, 2017
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Division 3 Athletes Can Get Scholarship Money – and Can Play Pro Sports

By Jayne Di Vincenzo AIF ®, CEP ®

President and CEO of Lions Bridge Financial Advisors, Inc.


Editor’s Note: This is one of many articles Lions Bridge Financial Advisors will publish to help professional athletes and aspiring professional athletes make informed decisions with their money. Note that these articles will include several common-sense tips that apply to everyone, so we hope they are read by athletes and non-athletes alike.

High school athletes who go on to play sports in college are more likely to do so at Division 3 universities.

There are two reasons for this. First, there are more Division 3 schools than Division 2 and Division 1 schools, and Division 3 schools are more likely to accept students who are not elite athletes. That doesn’t mean elite athletes don’t attend Division 3 schools.

Pierre Garcon, who played football at Division 3 University of Mount Union, recently signed a five-year, $47.5-million contract to play for the San Francisco 49ers. He is one of 20 Division 3 football players who’ve been drafted by National Football League teams in recent years. What’s more, two National Basketball Association standouts, Jack Sikma (Illinois Wesleyan) and Terry Porter (Wisconsin-Stevens Point), attended Division 3 universities.

When it comes to paying for college, the bad news is Division 3 universities don’t offer athletic scholarships. (Neither does the Ivy League, which is made up of Division 1 schools, but that’s a different story for a different day.) However, Division 3 universities often offer generous academic scholarships to student athletes, who might not receive them if not for their athletic prowess.

If you think you may play sports at a Division 3 university, you’re more likely to get scholarship money if you apply to the ones with large endowments. An endowment generally reflects the financial health of an institution. The larger the university’s endowment, the more financially stable it is – and the more likely it is to give scholarships to its students, including to its student athletes.

For example, a high school athlete who hopes to receive scholarship money from a Division 3 university may have a better chance of getting it from Washington University, in St. Louis, than a smaller Division 3 with a small endowment in a rural area. Although schools may be Division 3 universities, and both offer similar sports, Washington University’s endowment is about $6.5 billion while a smaller college’s may be just a few million

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a table where you can see the endowments of 806 universities.

As you research university endowments, keep in mind that Division 3 colleges with large endowments are elite academic institutions, such as Williams College, with a $2.4 billion endowment, and California Institute of Technology ($2.3 billion.) They aren’t easy to get into, but they may be easier to get into if you are an athlete.

Also keep in mind that some Division 3 universities may have a sport or two that competes at the Division 1 level. For example, Johns Hopkins University, a Division 3 school with an endowment of about $3.4 billion, has a Division 1 lacrosse program, which annually ranks as one of the best in the country.

So, yes, Division 3 colleges offer no athletic scholarships, but many offer generous academic scholarships to student athletes. They are yours for the taking. What are you waiting for?

Jayne Di Vincenzo, AIF ®, CEP ® 20-years of experience in financial services. She holds her Series 24 General Securities Principal, Series 53 Municipal Principal registrations, Series 7, 63, 65, 31 & life and health insurance licenses with LPL Financial.  Securities and financial planning offered through LPL Financial, A Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.  Lions Bridge Financial Advisors, 2110 William Styron Square, Newport News, VA 23606 (757)599-9111[email protected].


Jayne is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary ® and Certified Estate Planner ® and Member of the Financial Planning Association.


September 2017

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