Athlete vs. mathlete scholarships

When planning one’s future, many strive for academic success, spending hours on end studying and completing homework assignments in order to keep a 4.0 GPA. Students sign up for as many scholarships as possible, hoping for at least half of a year’s tuition. However, it is less likely for students to earn scholarships based on academics rather than athletics.

According to, U.S colleges awarded four billion in athletic scholarships in 2017 alone. That being said, the majority of universities in the U.S seem to fixate on athletes rather than academic achievers. According to a 2011 Washington Post article on the odds of getting an academic scholarship, over 500,000 men and women in America receive athletic scholarships and other financial aid, only 19 percent of high school students with GPAs of 3.5 to 4.0 get financial assistance from colleges.

Based on Scholarship Owl’s article, Athletic scholarships vs. Academic Scholarships, the only true difference between athletic and academic scholarships is competition. With less schools giving out financial assistance based on academics, the higher the standards are and the less likely it is to receive one. For athletes, especially if they apply to community colleges, it is much easier to get a larger sum of scholarships.    

As a student whose focus is centered around academics more so than athletics, I understand the bias of others saying that receiving athletic scholarships is easier. However, I also understand that sports-organizations do not just throw athletic scholarships out like candy. In fact, many colleges keep grades in mind when looking to recruit athletes.

Most of the time however, athletic scholarships and financial aid is worth more than academic scholarships. It is shown that because athletic scholarships are more valuable, a student could earn several small academic scholarships and still have that add up to one sports scholarship (Singletary).

Although the work put into qualifying for athletic and academic scholarships may be the same, financial assistance is not being evenly distributed. Athletes are being rewarded more for the same, if not less amount of work than contenders for athletic scholarships.

The problem is not about having enough money for scholarships either. In fact, according to, over $100 million for scholarships goes unclaimed each year. That much money could cover the tuition of 14,000 students in the U.S every year. Instead of leaving that money to be unclaimed, why not give more to the academic achievers? Why not reward more students for outstanding test scores and numerous extra-curriculars?

The point of this piece is not to argue whether athletes deserve scholarships or not, because of course they do. Everyone who puts forth the effort should be rewarded, but that applies to academics as well. The point of this piece is to share how often 4.0 students are not given any, or very little financial support for college. I think it is time for a change to be made with scholarship criteria, and I think that change should be made soon.