November 30, 2010

Talking Turkey - Volleyball Scholarship Conversations

What topics /subjects would be valuable to discuss with a perspective college coach that is recruiting our daughter. As a parent I feel the need to make the coach aware of our financial position. What questions would be appropriate for our daughter to ask the coach?
Thank Again - F.R.

This will sound harsh, but your financial position will not have too much of an impact upon a coach's scholarship offer. The dynamic with NCAA Division II Volleyball is that coach will try to secure the player for the least amount possible, while the player will try to secure the most amount possible. The key for you is to be the object of a bidding war and play two schools off of each other. Don't look for charity from a college program, look to do business.

I believe this is one area in which the parent should take the lead and not the PSA. Financial/Scholarship matters are grown up, adult items in which the family will have to bear the burden. The adults need to hammer out the money details, then Mom and Dad lay everything out to the PSA. Working through a scholarship offer is not equivalent to committing to a school, but rather gaining a clear picture of a very important consideration during the recruiting process.

Let your daughter focus upon the non financial aspects of a school, as this will be what she will deal with on a daily basis. You should talk turkey (Butterball turkeys scared the stuffing out of me as a kid - watching the exploding yellow goo was an appetite killer!) with the coach, but again, don't look for charity, look for another bidder!

The easiest way to get more money from choice #1 is to tell the coach that City State University just offered a 3/4 scholarship and your out of pocket is 6K per year. If choice #1 knows their scholarship offer is for you to pay 12K out of pocket, then they will need to make a decision - offer more money or just say that is our max offer and hope for the best.

Let your daughter focus on academics, location, training styles, coaching styles, how a team travels, what is the off-season work out, do the SA's live together, what does the strength room look like, what about the training room, does a trainer travel with the team, how long are the road trips, how safe is the campus, are there on-campus apartments, how long does a SA have to live on campus, what do the dorms look like, etc. You focus upon the numbers and if you don't have a #2 school providing the bidding competition, just flat out tell the coach that you must have a higher scholarship offer or it is better for your daughter to just be a college kid locally.

As referenced above, there are plenty of non-scholarship topics which you/your daughter can discuss with a coaching staff.

I would remind you that the athletic scholarship offer is just one component of the scholarship package available for NCAA DII programs - Do think of it as a package. The components - Athletic, Academic, Merit, Need, Non-Institutional.

Athletic - NCAA allows for funding equal to 8 full scholarships and each school determines how many up it will fund. Whatever the scholarship total funded by each school, these scholarships can be divided amongst any number of players.

Academic - With DII, this component can easily surpass the athletic total and many times does. These amounts are traditionally presented in cooperation with the Admissions department of a school - Many times, there is a predetermined matrix or chart which exactly illustrates what a certain ACT/SAT and gpa score is worth.

Merit - These tend to be scholarships based on religious affiliation, proficiency within a defined academic focus (for instance, a writing scholarship via the English department) or state supported scholarships based on grades, community service, etc.

Need - The Federal government has a number of grants or awards which are available based upon a family's financial situation; the Pell Grant is the most widely known. In addition, a vast number of states also offer a version of the Pell Grant.

Non-Institutional - Any number of scholarships and grants are available via high school associations, Girl Scouts, church groups, private clubs, etc. These can be presented directly to the college/university for payment against cost of attendance.

Good Luck

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