Athletic Scholarships Provide Benefits for All
A recent trend in the college admissions process has seen colleges offering fewer merit based academic scholarships, but still a large number of athletic scholarships. Even though this trend may be seen as unfair to non-athletes applying to college, colleges should still continue to offer these athletic scholarships. There are many reasons why offering an increasing number of athletic scholarships at the expense of academic scholarships is both fair to applying students, and beneficial to the colleges.
First of all, increasing the number of athletic scholarships allows many kids to attend college on the basis of their athletic excellence, who otherwise wouldn’t be admitted solely on their academic pedigree. While many may see this as unfair, given that other “more academically qualified” students won’t be able to attend the college, athletic scholarships lead to a student body that possesses a wider variety of skills and interests, resulting in a more well rounded, diverse school. When a college is more diverse, students have the opportunity to obtain a more complete education, because they get to experience and interact with many different types of people.
Second off, even though there may be a decreasing amount of money given out to students through academic scholarships, colleges are offering more and more financial aid to all of their students, thus enabling those who previously counted on academic scholarships to still be able to attend school. Furthermore, when putting together financial aid packages, colleges are including more grant aid and fewer student loans. Some schools, such as Princeton, now meet 100% of students’ financial needs through grants. Across the board, the amount of grant aid being given out has significantly increased. From 2009 to 2010, students received 10 billion dollars more in Pell grant aid than they had the year before. In terms of overall financial aid, colleges are now helping students pay for college more so than they ever have before. Much of the increase in aid is due to the fact that many colleges are now “need blind” in their admission process, meaning that they don’t factor in a student’s ability to pay the tuition when making a decision about his or her application. Thus, after admitting a student, they are committing to meeting all of his or her demonstrated financial needs.
This is important because a student who is academically decorated enough to receive an academic scholarship will still be able to afford the college even if he or she isn’t granted a merit–based academic scholarship. Therefore, despite the fact that there are fewer academic scholarships available to students, increases in financial aid, including grants, have helped to offset the consequences of the decreasing number of academic scholarships.
Finally, from the perspective of the colleges, offering more athletic scholarships makes sense financially. This is because for a number of schools, strong athletic departments generate huge amounts of money (and increase school spirit) that can be used for many other expenditures and investment projects, like certain academic pursuits, to improve the school.
Naturally it is in the best interests of a university to offer more athletic scholarships in sports such as men’s basketball and football in hopes of turning their teams into winners. It has been well documented that successful football and basketball programs can make big money for their colleges. For example, the University of Texas football program made over 93 million dollars for the school in 2011, and over 140 other football and basketball programs also made a huge amount of money. Given these statistics, it’s easy for me to see why many colleges are offering more athletic scholarships in order to theoretically make money for the school. While many may argue that institutions of higher learning shouldn’t be so focused on making money, colleges and universities are just like businesses in the sense that they must make money in order to continue operating and improving.
In conclusion, it is clear that offering more athletic scholarships at the expense of academic scholarships, when viewed in a larger context, is in fact fair to incoming students who are non-athletes, and beneficial to the colleges.