Tennis scholarships to America are very popular for student-athletes from around the world because as well as earning a world class degree it also provides them with a positive opportunity to develop both physically and mentally in a team environment over the course of four years.
It is this reason why so many of the worlds best tennis players have emerged from the US college tennis system, such as recent players John Isner and the Bryan brothers.
After high school graduation the next step is always extremely tough, so having this option to study, train, compete and develop is a fantastic pathway for those fortunate enough to be able to pursue it.
Tennis scholarship opportunities in the USA vary considerably depending on each players athletic and academic ability, with the student-athletes that have the better rating/ranking/results (nationally and internationally) and have maintained the higher academic grades receiving the larger tennis scholarship offers from college coaches.
These scholarships are offered by colleges that compete within the various divisions in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Here we provide a brief outline on what they offer in terms of scholarships per team and the level that you need to be in order to stand a chance of receiving one.
In the NCAA division one mens college tennis there are 263 programs, with most being able to offer 4.5 full athletic scholarships per team to spread out amongst its squad of 8+, with amounts typically ranging from a full 100% to 25% in financial aid. The standard in the NCAA division one varies considerably with the strongest colleges and conferences being able to field players that are ranked inside the top 500 ATP and WTA, down through to some of the best ITF ranked juniors from around the world. The lower level division one colleges do recruit players that are good regional standard, however these students will be playing lower down the teams order so therefore must expect to contribute a reasonable amount to their education.
The NCAA division two has 161 college programs and is similar to the first division with again 4.5 full tennis scholarships to spread out amongst its squad, but it has slightly easier rules in order to be eligible. This is why you often get very good players at the best division two colleges, with lower level regional players that are still able to find good scholarships making up the bottom end.
There are 5 full tennis scholarships per college squad available to students wishing to compete within the NAIA (92 programs) and 9 within the NJCAA (120 programs). Although with the later only 25% of the team are allowed to originate from outside of the USA. The standard for both of these associations is again mixed due to students eligibility and individual circumstances/preferences, with the top being strong international competitors and the bottom lower regional/top club players.
In the womens NCAA division one tennis there are 320 college programs and due to the Title IX rule in college sport, often have 8 full athletic tennis scholarships available to spread out amongst its team. To compete at the top colleges in the nation within division one the student must have either a WTA or top ITF (300+) ranking or be considered a strong national championship challenger. The lower level colleges and conferences require less and students can find good scholarships if they are a consistent regional performer.
In the NCAA Division two 212 college programs are able to offer up to 6 full tennis scholarships per squad. The standard of the girls competing at the lower end is not that strong so if you are a regional or top club player then a good private academic division two college could be the perfect fit for you.
The NAIA has 110 colleges spread out around the country that can offer up to 5 full scholarships and the NJCAA with its 141 programs 9 full scholarships. Each of these associations has its pros and cons for students considering enrolling into one, so please speak with one of our Recruitment Advisors if you would like some further information.
As well as the tennis scholarships that are available at the various associations and divisions across the USA, if the student-athlete has good academic grades it may also be possible to receive an academic scholarship as well to help with the families financial commitment. This is especially important if the player is not of a high tennis standard as the academic scholarship could potentially offset a large proportion of the families yearly fees. Please contact us if you would like some advice on this area.