I received a scholarship offer from a Division I-AA (FCS) football program. What does that mean financially and how much will I be paying?

I got an offer from a Division I-AA (FCS) football program. What does that mean financially?Many of the top Division I-AA (FCS) football programs use their camp like BCS schools across the country.  They try to bring in as many top rated recruits as possible, and if they see one that stands out, most are not afraid to extend a scholarship offer.

The problem with receiving this scholarship offer is the fact that at the Division I-AA (FCS) level, the scholarship amounts vary.  In the majority of cases, they are not going to extend a full ride so it is likely o be a percentage.  But what does that mean to you financially for paying for college?  And what if you want to accept it?

I will say that it really is tough to figure out where Division I-AA (FCS) schools stand when they offer you a scholarship so early.  I know multiple athletes who received an offer from one of the top Division I-AA (FCS) programs during the summer at their camp.  This athlete never did find out his exact number total until he took an official visit in January.

The reason why it is so difficult is because it can vary.  Just because a college coach says that there is an offer on the table doesn’t mean if it will be big or small.  It may be questionable but doesn’t the college paying for 100% of your education or 10% of your education still mean you have a scholarship either way?

With Division I-AA (FCS) coaches, they can be really impressed by an athlete at their camp, extend a verbal offer, and then find a better prospect during the fall that they like more.  A few years back a school did that to a quarterback recruit.  They were extremely impressed with his performance at their camp and verbally offered.  But over the next few months, these coaches seemed to disappear.

But for the sake of this article, we are going to say that the offer remains on the table.  In most cases, the Division I-AA (FCS) school is likely to be the first scholarship offer.  These schools usually are smart enough to realize that extending offers to athletes with Division I-A (BCS) scholarships is usually going to be a waste of time.  I personally have never seen an athlete pick a Division I-AA (FCS) school over a Division I-A (BCS) program unless it was very far from home, there was a grayshirt involved, and a major position change.

By offering early, they are showing you loyalty and that could help them land you in the end.  After camp, the coaches will likely continue recruiting you and showing you interest.  I would also expect them, if you are close to their campus, to visit during the fall and see you in action during the football season as well.

While it is not always the case, I would assume that if you receive an offer this early in the football recruiting process, you will receive a good scholarship when they give you your final numbers.  Because each school has a certain scholarship total that they can offer each year (which varies on their current roster, graduating seniors, and things along those lines), it really is tough to tell specifically how much they can offer this early in the process.  Most staffs wait until after the football season ends to figure that out.

Also the reason they want to give you those numbers on an official visit is why should they waste their time putting together an extensive package if you are not going to visit the campus?  They want to sell you their program, and late into the visit, they will tell you what the scholarship total is.  Getting those number is important (just a reminder: you want a percentage, not a dollar amount.  The costs of college will go up but your dollar amount likely won’t).

My guess is that if they do extend a scholarship this early, it is likely going to be 50% or better.  But in order to figure out that total number, you may have to wait until the winter when you go an official visit.  Being patient is the best way to relax and enjoy your senior year of football.

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