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How to Guarantee Your Child a Full-Ride College Scholarship

How to Guarantee Your Child a Full-Ride College Scholarship

April 04, 2018

After one of the most exciting tournaments in recent memory, March Madness has sadly come to an end.
If you’re like a lot of parents, watching the men’s college basketball tournament can give you dreams of watching your kid earn a full-ride college scholarship in their favorite sport. But the odds of that are slim for even the best athletes. Thankfully, I have a sure-fire way for your son or daughter to get a free ride to the university of their choice.
Impossible, you say? Not so fast, my friend.

The “All-In” Approach

The most obvious approach is to commit fully to your child’s athletic career. Get them on the best club team. Hire the best private coaches. Send them to the best development camps. Work to raise their skills and profile so they get a sports scholarship for college.
What would all this cost? Well, like a lot of things in life, you can spend as much as you decide to spend, but here are some thoughts on what it might cost:
Developmental camps (three a summer): $900
For boys age 8 and up, you can get a week of good basketball camp in Minneapolis for $300.
Join a good club team: $4,000
Membership on a decent AAU team will be about $1,000 for the fall season, then again for summer. The team will usually travel to two out-of-state tournaments a year, carrying a price of $1,000 with at least one parent tagging along. You will also want shoes, equipment and related costs ($200 for gear + $20 admission to 20 tournaments = $400; Food at tournaments = $400), coming out to about $1,000 per year. Grand total: $4,000.
Private coaching: $1,500
You will want some individualized attention to help your child improve based on their physical gifts and preferences. Fees range but budget $75 a session. One session a week for 20 weeks a year comes out to $1,500.
Add everything up, and this makes an annual investment of $6,400 a year, or about $534 a month.
From age eight to 18, that makes $64,000 invested.

The Scholarship Payoff

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, about 2 percent of all high school athletes get a college scholarship. So, what’s the typical scholarship your son or daughter can anticipate after those 10 years of hard work? It depends, of course. Some sports have more scholarship money than others, and some sports support men more than women.
Since we are just wrapping up college basketball season, let’s look at basketball as an example. The average female basketball player who gets a college scholarship receives $5,731 a year.
With the University of Minnesota’s average cost of attendance today at $27,469, according to, that still leaves a lot of college to pay for.
The chart below details the average scholarship for men and women by sport in a selection of major U.S. sports. Additional detail can be found at this link

Athletic scholarship facts

The Alternative

Even if you invested all of that $64,000 into your child’s athletic development, there’s still no guarantee they get any scholarship at all. And even if they do, college could still come with a hefty price tag.
So, here’s a different plan: save $958 a month from your child’s eighth birthday until they start college and pay cash. Details on saving and investing for college can be found at this link.
Of course, saving for college is never quite this simple. That’s why some families seek out the advice of a financial planner who is always the client’s advocate (a fiduciary advisor) and who only gets paid by the client (a fee-only advisor) to help create a plan and execute a strategy to meet their college savings goals. Yes, I am a fee-only, fiduciary advisor and yes, I can help you save for your kid’s college, scholarship or not.
If this article has you thinking about paying for college for someone you love, contact my office at I am always happy to meet with people who are working on financial goals.
Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.