NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Guide: Securing Funding for Advanced Education

For collegiate athletes looking to advance their education beyond their undergraduate degree, the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program offers a unique opportunity. This scholarship recognizes student-athletes who have excelled both in the classroom and in their respective sports, aiming to reward those who are at the final stage of their intercollegiate athletics competition. As an added benefit, they provide a financial boost for postgraduate studies, lending a helping hand to those preparing for professional life outside of competitive sports.


The scholarship’s eligibility requirements are rigorous, requiring a minimum grade-point average and a demonstrated record of athletic achievement. The application process is equally comprehensive, as candidates are vetted through a regional committee before the final selection by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee. Understanding the detailed stipulations and timelines is pivotal for interested student-athletes, and familiarity with post-award obligations ensures compliance and maximizes the benefits of the scholarship.

Key Takeaways

  • NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships support the academic and athletic achievements of exceptional student-athletes.
  • Rigorous eligibility and application procedures must be navigated to secure a scholarship.
  • Recipients must adhere to post-award requirements to fully benefit from the program.

Overview of NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program stands as a testament to the NCAA’s commitment to fostering the academic and athletic achievements of its student-athletes. Recognizing those who have greatly contributed to their sports while pursuing higher education, these scholarships serve as a springboard for future success beyond collegiate competition.

Purpose and Vision

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are designed to honor student-athletes who have excelled in both their academic and athletic pursuits. Annually, up to 126 postgraduate scholarships are granted by the NCAA, supporting the educational aspirations of outstanding student-athletes. Each one-time, non-renewable scholarship amounts to $10,000. It is distributed three times a year, aligned with the academic calendars of various sports seasons. These awards play a crucial role by providing financial assistance to student-athletes as they transition to graduate-level education.

By establishing this grant, the NCAA continues to promote the importance of achieving academic excellence, recognizing those who have demonstrated a dedication to both their sport and scholarly endeavors. Eligibility is contingent upon the nominee’s successful completion of undergraduate studies while being in their final year of collegiate athletic eligibility.

Eligibility Requirements

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is a prestigious award for student-athletes who have excelled in both their academic and athletic pursuits. To qualify, a student-athlete must meet stringent criteria in three main areas: academics, athletics, and community involvement.

Academic Criteria

Graduate Degree Program Enrollment: Candidates must be in their final year of athletic eligibility and plan to enroll in a graduate degree program within one year of the award. They need to have commenced enrollment after obtaining their undergraduate degree and present an official transcript as proof.

  • Minimum GPA: A nominee must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Academic Achievement: The scholarship recognizes outstanding academic achievements and leadership as fundamental qualifiers for the award.

Athletic Participation

Intercollegiate Athletics Competition: Applicants must be student-athletes who are in their final season of NCAA athletics eligibility or have completed their athletic eligibility. Participation and distinction in an NCAA-sponsored sport are compulsory.

  • Athletic Eligibility: It’s imperative that a nominee’s athletic eligibility is confirmed through their institution and that they have performed significantly well athletically.

Community Involvement

The NCAA looks for student-athletes who have shown a commitment to service in their community, demonstrating leadership beyond their sports and academic responsibilities.

  • Student-athletes are evaluated on their ability to contribute to their community while managing the demands of their academic and athletic commitments.

Application Process


The application process for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program is a meticulous procedure designed to identify student-athletes who have thrived in both academic and athletic pursuits. Key steps include nomination, documentation submission, and meeting specific selection criteria.

Nomination by FAR

To be nominated for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, a student-athlete must be put forward by their school’s Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). The nomination process begins with the FAR or their designee using the online nomination submission system. The FAR plays a crucial role in confirming the eligibility and accomplishments of the nominee.

Documentation Submission

The nominated student-athlete is required to submit several pieces of documentation, including official transcripts to the NCAA national office, and letters of recommendation which provide insights into the applicant’s character and academic excellence. Additionally, a compelling personal statement must be crafted to articulate the student-athlete’s career aspirations, sports involvement, and the impact of sports on their personal development.

Selection Criteria

Candidates are evaluated on a robust set of selection criteria, encompassing not only their athletic and academic performance but also their leadership and community service contributions. Lori Thomas, as an example, might be one standout nominee highlighted for their exceptional career in collegiate athletics in tandem with stellar academic achievements. It is imperative that nominees demonstrate dedication and passion that extends beyond their sport.

Scholarship Details

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship provides substantial support for student-athletes pursuing postgraduate education. It emphasizes both academic and athletic achievements.

Award Amount and Usage

The NCAA offers up to 126 scholarships every year, each valued at a one-time grant of $10,000. Recipients are expected to utilize these funds for graduate-level tuition, fees, room, and board. The scholarship is designed to acknowledge academic and athletic excellence and to encourage athletes to continue their education beyond their undergraduate course of study.

Distribution of Funds

Scholarship funds are awarded three times a year, correlating with the sports seasons. To be eligible, candidates must be in their final year of athletics competition. The goal is to distribute the grants equitably among sports, genders, and divisions. Award recipients must enroll into a postgraduate program within a specified time frame following the receipt of the grant.

Deadlines and Important Dates

Successfully applying for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship hinges on awareness and adherence to specific deadlines, which vary depending on the sport season and final submission dates.

Sport Season Specific Deadlines

Fall Sports:

  • Nomination Opening: Early September
  • Deadline: January 31

Winter Sports:

  • Nomination Opening: Early January
  • Deadline: March 31

Spring Sports:

  • Nomination Opening: Early March
  • Deadline: June 30

Final Submission Deadlines

For all sports categories, once the nomination is done, there are final submission deadlines they must meet:

  • Finalist Materials Due: Approximately two weeks after the sport season-specific deadline.

All dates are critical, and noncompliance often results in disqualification from the scholarship program. Applicants need to check the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship page for the most current dates, as these can be subject to change.

Post-Award Requirements

Receiving an NCAA postgraduate scholarship is a notable achievement, and there are specific protocols recipients must follow to fully benefit from the award. Attention to these details ensures the scholarship serves its intended purpose of supporting graduate-level education.

Acceptance and Enrollment Forms

Recipients must swiftly and accurately complete an Acceptance Form to confirm their intent to use the scholarship funds. Alongside this, a Certification of Enrollment Form must be submitted, verifying their enrollment on either a part-time or full-time basis in an accredited graduate program. These forms serve as a formal declaration of acceptance and are crucial for the initiation of the scholarship benefits.

Scholarship Utilization

The scholarship funds are exclusively applicable to graduate level hours and should be directed towards enrollment in a master’s degree program. Recipients are required to use the scholarship within a prescribed timeframe, with the understanding that the funds are a one-time, non-renewable gift. NCAA guidelines are explicit that these resources must support the educational expenses of the graduate student-athletes as they continue their academic pursuits.

Opportunities and Development

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program offers student-athletes excellent avenues for progress in both educational and career endeavors. Through support for advanced education and industry connections, the program facilitates significant growth beyond collegiate athletics.

Graduate Programs

Student-athletes have the opportunity to further their education in graduate study at accredited institutions. With scholarships specifically geared toward postgraduate education, they can pursue degrees in fields that complement their undergraduate studies or venture into new academic territories. The one-time non-renewable scholarships of $10,000 can be applied to graduate programs during any academic year, including at foreign universities, thereby enriching their global perspective and research opportunities.

Career Networking

The NCAA also places strong emphasis on career and professional development. Through events and resources, student-athletes gain access to a vast network of alumni and professionals. This positions them advantageously to secure internships and employment in their chosen fields. Networking opportunities allow them to connect with mentors who can guide them through the intricacies of professional growth and development.

Policies and Procedures


The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program offers financial support intended for student-athletes who perform exceptionally in their respective sports while maintaining a strong academic record. These scholarships reinforce the NCAA’s commitment to academics and athletic excellence.

Athletic Achievements Reporting

A nominee for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship must have notable athletic achievements, which often include being recognized at a national level. The scholarship program requires candidates to have a history of significant accomplishments in college sports. Institutions should document and report these achievements during the nomination process. It is important to establish if a nominee has achieved All-American status or similar honors, emphasizing the blend of elite athletic performance and academic dedication.

Change of Institution

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship necessitates that recipients enroll full-time in a postgraduate program within a year after being awarded. If a recipient decides to attend a graduate degree program at a different NCAA member institution, they must report this change. It is imperative to clarify the institution’s accreditation and ensure a seamless transition that does not affect the scholarship’s conditions.

These policies are constructed to encourage student-athletes to stay dedicated on the field and in the classroom, providing a platform where academic and campus involvement is as significant as athletic achievement.

Athlete Resources


In navigating the path toward postgraduate success, NCAA student-athletes have specific resources at their disposal for advisement, financial planning, and scholarship opportunities. These resources are tailored to support both their academic and athletic achievements while preparing them for life after college sports.

Advisement and Support

The NCAA provides comprehensive advisement to student-athletes through the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program. This program reinforces the NCAA’s commitment to academics by offering scholarships to those who excel both academically and athletically. In addition to the scholarships, athletes receive support in identifying colleges and universities that value their contributions on and off the field. They are encouraged to seek guidance from faculty athletics representatives, which further augments their network of support.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is a critical aspect for student-athletes considering postgraduate education. NCAA scholarships, which can be in the realm of academics, athletics, service and leadership, provide a one-time, non-renewable grant of $10,000 towards graduate education. Athletes must strategize to manage these funds effectively. Colleges play a significant role in offering financial education to complement the NCAA’s efforts, ensuring that scholarship recipients are well-prepared to handle their finances during their postgraduate studies.

Frequently Asked Questions


This section provides insightful answers to common queries regarding NCAA postgraduate scholarships, from funding amounts to sport-specific opportunities.

How much is the NCAA postgraduate scholarship?

The NCAA postgraduate scholarship is a one-time, non-renewable grant of $10,000, awarded to selected student-athletes in recognition of their academic and athletic achievements.

What are the eligibility rules for NCAA graduate students?

Eligible student-athletes must have a minimum grade-point average of no lower than 3.200 on a 4.000 scale and be in their final year of NCAA athletics eligibility.

Which sports offer the easiest path to a Division 1 scholarship?

There is no definitive answer for which sport offers the easiest path to a Division 1 scholarship as it varies based on factors like the number of scholarships available and the level of competition.

What does a traditional full athletic scholarship encompass in NCAA terms?

A full athletic scholarship in NCAA terms generally covers tuition, fees, room, board, and textbooks, essentially incorporating the total cost of attending the institution.

What is the hardest athletic scholarship to acquire?

The hardest athletic scholarships to acquire are usually in sports with more participants but fewer available scholarships, creating high competition for limited spots.

Are there limits on the number of scholarships NCAA provides in 2023?

Yes, the NCAA imposes limits on the number of scholarships based on the division, sport, and gender. These limits are called “scholarship caps.”

Helpful Resources

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