A couple of years ago the NCAA changed its rules to allow coaches to guarantee scholarships beyond the first year. Some coaches do and some don’t. If a coach doesn’t offer a guarantee, then you need to ask. Guarantees should be listed on the scholarship agreement form.
Usually, but not always it is pretty rare for a coach to take away scholarship money unless the swimmer breaks rules.
Before you sign ask the following questions:
What is the school’s policy on 5th year aid? It may take 5 years to complete the degree, but the swimming scholarship only goes for 4 years. Schools are allowed to pay for the 5th year, but I suggest asking up front.
If there is not a full scholarship offered, ask about what it would take to get a scholarship increase after the first year.
Will the school pay for health insurance (mainly for international students)?
Where does the team go for Christmas training and who pays? This is not negotiable, but it could be an expense. A school is not allowed to pay for expenses for one swimmer and not the rest of the team.
Some coaches will offer a scholarship in a dollar amount and some will offer as a percentage. A dollar amount sounds good, but that remains fixed as the cost of school goes up. Ask the coach if the scholarship could be listed as a percentage.
Keep in mind that a first offer may not be the best offer.
Verbal commitments are not binding, but in 15 years of running American College Connection I have only had one coach renege on his offer.
Here is a sample of a scholarship offer by a D-I coach. He spells out the offer and cost to the recruit very well. You, your parents and the coach must have an understanding of your approximate cost to attend the school.
Notice that the first year offer is for a full, but the coach lists part of the first year scholarship as a “Signing Bonus.”
Out of State Resident (on Campus)
Rec Fees: $200
Room and Board: $8,890
Total Cost to attend: $28,398
Laptop Award: given on arrival
Athletic Scholarship: $15,619 (roughly 55%) ^Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4
Athletic Scholarship Signing bonus $12,779 (roughly 45%) ^Year 1 ONLY (Total: 100% Athletic Scholarship YEAR 1 ONLY)
Total Cost to you:
^Year 1= $0
Year 2= $12,779
Year 3= $12,779
Year 4= $12,779