Frequently Asked Questions

Embarking on a US soccer or golf scholarship should be an exciting step in any young person’s life, however you will undoubtedly have many questions about what it involves. While by no means an exhaustive list, below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about sport scholarships in the US.
What is an Athletic Scholarship?

An Athletic Scholarship is a financial award given, by a college/university in recognition of a persons sporting ability.

The investment is used to offset the cost of attending university and will help pay for the cost of your academic degree.

Persons receiving athletic scholarship funding will represent their college or university sports team in competitions and tournaments throughout the academic year.

Why do colleges and universities offer sport scholarships?

The first thing to understand is that participating in and following sport is a huge part of American life.

Collegiate sport in particular is a real family affair and many people will follow their favourite college team as passionately as Europeans follow their favourite professional teams.

American universities and colleges have teams in many sports and employ coaches to professionally manage these teams.

By competing in competitions and tournaments with other institutions across the U.S, the sports teams are effectively advertising and promoting their institutions to attract new student athletes from inside the United States around the world.

Success at a regional or national level can raise the profile of that institution, therefore sport is taken very seriously and naturally, they want to recruit and invest in people who can help bring them success.

How will my sporting development benefit from a scholarship?

Throughout your time in college as a student athlete, you will have access to top level facilities with regular practice sessions and matches/sports events on a weekly basis throughout the main season.

In addition to the facilities, the level of support from expert coaches, trainers and sports scientists will see your overall athletic development improve substantially.

We always see a big difference in our students after year one and we attribute that to the opportunity they have to really focus on their physical development in the full-time, specialist environment that the U.S Collegiate system offers them.

Finally, the U.S system draws talented young sportsmen and women from across the globe. The opportunity to compete with and against the best student athletes from all over the world, at your age group, can only improve your game.

What is meant by the term - Student Athlete?

A Student Athlete is an individual who competes in an organised sport sponsored by an institution in which he or she is enrolled.

Well, thats the boring, search engine produced terminology. For us, a Student Athlete is a little bit special. They have a talent that stands them apart from regular students attending university.

Student Athletes have expectations placed upon them. They represent themselves and their universities in the way they conduct themselves on and off the sports field.

Being a Student Athlete, by definition, means there will be dual roles and responsibilities and quite a bit more work involved in your weekly schedule.

The ability to manage your study, training and competition commitments is key, so being prepared to go the extra mile to be successful is very important for student athletes.

We have created a very clear picture of what we feel are the ‘key characteristic of being a Student Athlete. Check them out here.

Who decides if I can get a Scholarship?

Ultimately, the decision to award scholarship funding comes from the university/college admissions department.

However, in the case of sports scholarship funding, the Head Coach is the person who initially determines what level of funding he or she is willing to invest in a new recruit.

The coach has a budget, decided and set, for the operation of the sports team that they manage and they have to decide how to best distribute this resource among their team roster.

It is often the case that some members of the team may not be on any scholarship funding. Some others might be receiving a little to help with books and study equipment or for meals and accommodation.

Typically, if a coach is going to invest significant scholarship funds to bring an international recruit into their team, they will set aside a larger percentage of their budget to attract this person or persons to come and play for their team.

Recruits receiving high levels of scholarship funding are expected to become main players in their teams and the expectations placed upon high award recipients is a bit higher than those placed on others. The best analogy we can provide is that a high scholarship recipient, in collegiate sport, is like a marquee signing made by a top professional European football team.

How good do I have to be in my sport to get a scholarship?

There are no hard and fast rules about this. Before awarding a scholarship, coaches will take into consideration not just your sporting credentials and background, but also your academic standards and personal qualities.

Every sport is different in terms of how a coach determines your qualities as a recruit. For sports such as track and field athletics and swimming, an athlete will have a record of their times and scores.

Their recruit credentials are there in black and white for a coach to review. In other sports, mainly team ones like soccer, it is a far more subjective opinion on what qualities any given coach might look for in a recruit that they are looking to invest scholarship funding in.

Any recommendation that we make is done so after an exhaustive initial recruitment phase and only once we are able to back up our recommendation with a bank of information, gained by time spent building up a bank of specific information on our candidates that will make them an attractive option for recruiting coaches. See our SF USA Mentoring Program

Fortunately, we have a built up a terrific reputation for the quality of our recruits. This has largely be achieved on the back of the success of our Student Athletes in the United States and their continued success leads to more and more requests for information on our next crop of Potential Student Athletes.  See Testimonials

Thats where international recruiters, like ourselves, come into the equation. We do the initial academic screening and talent identification of prospective student athletes outside of the United States.

Essentially, a good recruiter will know all about the U.S collegiate system and have a good depth of knowledge about the quality of the teams, conferences and divisions. They will then be able to advise you about the U.S system and discuss appropriate levels for your sporting and academic ability before any joint decision is made on whether to progress with your plans to pursue this career pathway or not.

American University/College Coaches use Sporting Futures USA as a resource to connect with international recruits. We receive requests for recommendations on an almost daily basis from coaches in the United States.

If we believe that we have a suitable candidate for the coaches who contact us and that it represents a good all-round academic, sporting and lifestyle fit, then we will put forward a recommendation for our recruit to be considered for the available scholarship funding at the university/college.

If I achieve a Scholarship, how long will the funding last for?

Scholarships are awarded on a year-by-year basis.

They can generally be renewed for up to four years, which is the normal time required to complete an undergraduate degree in the US.

You must continue to achieve satisfactory grades to continue to be awarded a scholarship from one year to the next.

How will I know what level of scholarship funding I will receive?

Without doubt, it’s the question that we are asked most often. As covered in the question & answer above, we know that the coaches have the say on who they offer scholarship funding to.

To gain a better overall understanding, let’s start with what is involved in the cost structure of attending a U.S College/University:

Costs are broken down into three main categories:-

  1. Tuition Fees.
  2. Accommodation.
  3. Meal Plan

A ‘Full Scholarship Award’ would cover all three of the above categories. Wouldn’t that be nice! Unfortunately, the reality is that full scholarship awards are rarely provided, especially to incoming Freshmen from oversea’s who are effectively arriving unproven in collegiate competition.

Thats not to say that they are never achieved. In fact, for the past six years, we have seen at least one of our clients awarded a full scholarship.

The sensible advice that we offer every candidate and their families is that it will be essential to plan financially for a contribution towards the shortfall in an award offered to them.

If I do not get a full scholarship, how much would the shortfall cost me?

If a coach decides to offer you a partial-scholarship, then this means you and your family are responsible for paying the remainder of the fee’s. For example, the coach may offer to pay for your tuition.

This is known as a full tuition scholarship.

However, you are then asked to contribute towards the cost of accommodation and food for the academic year.

This would be a typical example of a ‘Partial-Scholarship’ award.

Will Sporting Futures USA help us with financial planning?

Absolutely!

Discussing and establishing a budget that is realistic for you and your family in terms of affordability for your four years in America is extremely important.

With this in mind, we have many years of experience in assisting our clients in financial planning for college and can lend our expertise to making sure that you know the facts and figures before embarking upon your journey.

Ok - I understand that a Partial-Scholarship will bring a cost. But how much will I have to contribute?

On average, college/university tuition and fees range from $15,000-$60,000 per year.

Clearly, Our aim is to significantly reduce the cost for you and your family, whilst identifying a good all-round fit for you. Our minimum aim is always to try and source and secure full tuition scholarships for our clients.

We think this is very achievable, providing your academic credentials match with the ability you have in your sport.

Therefore, if, in your first year, you were awarded a full tuition scholarship, but were asked to contribute towards your accommodation and meals, then the average cost ranges between $8-10,000 USD per year.

This compares very favourably with the costs of accommodation and meals in the UK, where the average living costs associated with attending university ranges from £7500-£12,000 per year. [Source] 

For Scottish Students, we have provided a comparison below between the accommodation costs associated with attending a Scottish University and an American University.

University of Stirling 

University of Connecticut

How do I pay fees to cover any shortfall in my scholarship?

The vast majority of universities & colleges in the United States offer a flexible payment plan for incoming students and their families.

During the recruiting period, coaches will connect you with faculty staff in areas such as admission, finance and international student liaison to make sure that you and your family have access to key information to help with planning for your studies and living arrangements.

Can I access Student Loans to study in America?

Student Loans area available to international students however the availability of US-based loans for international students is limited.

The two exceptions are American or dual citizens (see below) and international students who have a creditworthy US citizen or permanent resident who can co-sign on the loan with them. See this link for further information. – Fulbright.

Do American Universities pay Sporting Futures USA for your services?

No, unfortunately not.

This is a question that we are often asked. It does seem incredulous, to some, that we provide a completely free resource to American Universities & College’s who seek out our recommendations for their next International Student Athlete.

What is very important to understand is that U.S Collegiate Sport is completely Amateur in all forms of competition. Associations that govern collegiate sport, such as the NCAA, the NAIA & the NJCAA have rules and regulations in place to safeguard the integrity of the competition and maintain a level of parity between institutions within their system.

To pay a recruiter or to pay for a recruiting service is strictly forbidden for any coach or university / college official.

On that basis, we provide a completely free and impartial service to all American Universities and Colleges who contact us seeking recommendations on the potential student athletes that we work with.

Does Sporting Futures USA receive public of government funding in the UK?

No. Sporting Futures USA is self-funded entirely by the consultancy fees that we charge for the services we offer to our clients.

We are registered as a Limited Company in the UK through Companies House.

We provide a range of services for our clients, who are seeking to engage our expertise in relation to the American University/ College recruiting process. We provide a clearly defined fees structure for our services. In addition to our main services we can provide quotations for on request for a range of bespoke services.

What’s the difference between public and private colleges?

We don’t tend to make the distinction between public and private universities in the UK. In fact, there are five fully private universities in the United Kingdom: the University of BuckinghamBPP UniversityRegent’s University London, the University of Law and Arden University. 

All other British universities are partly publicly funded and regulated: the government regulates their tuition fees, student funding and student loans.

In the United States, there is a much more widespread distribution of both publicly and privately funded institutions and it is important to understand the difference between them because of the differences in prices and financial aid.

Public institutions are colleges that operate under the ultimate control of a State or local government. These colleges receive a significant amount of their budgets from the State.

Since State residents are subsidizing the school’s costs, tuition for in-state students is lower than that for out-of State students.

The additional tuition charged to out-of-state students is usually much more than the amount the state actually provides in subsidies. Therefore, out-of-state public universities generally don’t make sense financially.

Some public universities will offer scholarships to out-of-state students to attract highly qualified students. However, the most prestigious public universities rarely offer scholarships or financial aid to out-of-state students.

Private colleges and universities are controlled by a board of trustees and do not receive direct funding from the state. However, students attending the institution may pay for it with public financial aid.

Private colleges usually charge 2 to 4 times the tuition of public institutions. There is no difference in tuition between in-state and out-of-state residents.

While private colleges have a much higher sticker price than public institutions, they also generally offer more generous financial aid. On average, a much higher percentage of freshman receive institutional grants at private schools than at public schools.

Private colleges are also more likely to meet the financial need of students. Few students actually pay the sticker price at private institutions.

Private colleges will often have lower student to faculty ratios than public universities and campus sizes & student populations may be smaller.

Ultimately, since financial aid can vary dramatically among both public and private institutions, families need to target schools most likely to meet their needs.

Sporting Futures USA works with both public and privately funded institutions throughout the USA and we encourage our clients to focus on what the best all-round fit will benefit them most.

What is the difference between a College and a University?

In the UK, there is a clear distinction between College and University. Our college system is set up to provide a higher education pathway into further studies at university level.

In the United States, there isn’t any official difference. There are no rules that require certain types of institutions to use the term “college” and others to use “university.”

Many think the difference between a college and a university is size: “university” means big and “college” means small. However, there are 467 institutions with “university” in their name that have 3,000 or fewer undergraduates with 109 having less than 1,000.

There are some pretty big colleges out there as well. A total of 79 have 5,000 or more students, 163 have 3,000 or more.

A more traditional definition is that universities have both undergraduate and graduate students, where as colleges do not offer post graduate studies.

Therefore to summarise, as far as the differences between “colleges” and “universities,” there really aren’t any.

Or rather, there aren’t any that are well-defined enough to actually sway you towards one or another as you carry out your research into what will be the best route towards achieving your undergraduate degree.

Why are some American College's and Universities affiliated with Faith/Churches?

This is a great question and is another that we are asked about frequently, along with many sub questions, such as, will I have to attend church. Will I be expected to pray with the team.

Will they try to convert me, and many many more for students recruited by universities and colleges with religious affiliations.

A large number of American colleges and universities tend to have an affiliation or attachment to various denominations of the church. In fact, there are just over 1000 church affiliated colleges and universities in the country.

Most of the time, this is has come about as a historic funding arrangement with the university/college receiving an endowment from one of the church organisations. It’s a little bit like the Roman Catholic School’s system in the UK, in the sense that you do not have to be part of their church or even religious to attend.

Interestingly, The first American college, founded in Massachusetts Bay Colony, was Harvard. Evolving from a Puritan tradition now incorporated into the United Church of Christ. Harvard published a brochure in 1643, explaining the college’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches.”

As an organisation, we can honestly say that, for students of ours opting to join a college/university with a religious affiliation, it has never been something that we have found to be a negative.

But, nonetheless, it’s a question that we are asked every year and our answer is always the same. It’s there for those who want it and for those who aren’t that interested, then it’s just a matter of respecting other people’s beliefs and respecting people’s own views.

You may find that some of your team-mates or your coach will say prayers before a game. Others won’t. Live and let Live. It’s really just the American way.

What we have always found, is that on the whole, America is a very Christian oriented country with a significant proportion of the population actively involved or attached to a church.

Don’t forget, America is a relatively young country in the global context.

Early European settler’s, known as colonials, brought their religious faiths with them to the ‘New World’ and when they began establishing educational institutions, many of them were started with money from the church congregations at that time.

Do you use a nucleus of universities in the U.S or do you approach any university?

Both.

We have built up a very strong nucleus of university contacts, who year after year, recruit our candidates. This is very important to us, because it demonstrates that we have a successful track record of providing the type of candidates that meet with their expectations.

Each year, we receive requests from a wide range of Universities and Colleges, who have never previously recruited from us before.

If we have candidates that meet with their expectations & we feel, in turn, that they [The Universities] would be an appropriate fit for our candidates then we would gladly aim to work with them. I’ll give you an example.

This past August [2015], we placed six of our 18 players with new colleges. They all achieved All-Conference Honours and two of them won their Conference Player of the Year Awards.

Obviously, we were delighted by this because it will lead to those universities requesting more recruits going forward.

What is Sporting Futures USA's Role in the process of me gaining a Scholarship?

Essentially, our work is centred around identifying, preparing and placing talented international student athletes within American & Canadian Colleges and Universities, who have scholarship funding to invest in suitable candidates.

We provide a full A-Z type program, which guides our candidates through the whole process of preparing for, and ultimately choosing, a suitable university for their further education and for their sporting development.

How long does the Sporting Futures USA Application Process take?

It varies from individual to individual and much is dependant upon how quickly you would be academically eligible. We have worked with some candidates over an 18 month period and some others from as little as 2 months.

Ordinarily, We suggest a minimum of 8 months to create a suitable footage portfolio and to get academically eligible.

Our rule of thumb is that the earliest a candidate can be recruited is from their first point of high school graduation through to one year beyond their high school graduation.

Will I be applying for an Academic or Sports Scholarship?

The aim is always to apply for both.

A University Coach who is looking to invest scholarship funding in an international candidate will aim to mix and match athletic aid and academic aid (Scholarship) in order to make it as financially viable as possible.

This is why it is extremely important to combine a strong sporting CV with a proven academic track record enabling you to be eligible to receive both academic and athletic scholarship funding.

Is Scholarship funding allocated on an annual basis and what determines how much is allocated?

It is allocated on an annual basis and is dependant upon you successfully completing your academic obligations each year.

During your Freshman year, your Coach will set you targets both academically and also in terms of their expectations as a player.

For example, they will often expect you to play a certain amount of game time and they will want to see a contribution on the field that justifies the scholarship investment that they have made.

The first year (Freshman Year) is all about settling in and finding your feet so your continued progress in terms of scholarship funding will be mainly centred around academic achievement.

It is extremely uncommon for scholarship funding to be withdrawn or downgraded on the basis of athletic performance. In the vast majority of cases scholarship funding is upgraded for those who perform or exceed expectations.

What support would be provided for me, by Sporting Futures USA, once I am over in the US?

Once your placement has been arranged and you have committed yourself to attending your chosen university then our official representation agreement reaches an end.

To best explain this; what you should know is that we do not represent you in the way that a football agent represents a professional player.

There are strict regulations surrounding amateurism within Collegiate sports in the University system in America and 3rd party involvement is strictly forbidden for student athletes.

That said, we have built our whole reputation and ethos around the continued support of our US Based students.

They know that they can drop us an email or pick up a phone for advice at any point. If you were, for example, to carry out some research into the way we operate Sporting Futures USA through our various media sites (TwitterFacebook and Instagram) then you will note that we take a massive amount of pride in their continued success over there and during the main season, our work is almost like that of  journalists, covering their matches and experiences.

We believe that this is one of the main reasons that we continue to have such a great relationship with our players.

Just recently, we held our annual showcase event and we were able to put our current group of candidates out on the field against a team made up entirely of our returning U.S based players, who were home in the UK for the Christmas holidays.

One of the boys arrived back at Edinburgh Airport and had his folks drive him straight to the event. For us, as an organisation, we think that says it all about the support we offer our players and the continued support that, they too, offer us and the players currently on the program.

What is the SEVIS and I-20 and How do I obtain this?

The Form I-20 (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students) is a United States Department of Homeland Security, specifically ICE and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), document issued by SEVP-certified schools (colleges, universities, and vocational schools) that provides supporting information on a student’s F or M status.

To receive an I-20 you must satisfy the admission requirements of the university/college that you are intending to enroll in and then be successfully accepted to the University/College. Additionally, international students must prove that they have sufficient financial support to study and live in the U.S for the duration of your course of study.

The form I-20 is a government form on which the University/College certifies to the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 student status. By issuing the form I-20 to you, the University certifies that:

(1) You have met their own admissions requirements.
(2) You will pursue a full course of study.
(3) You have proved to us that you have enough money to study and live in the U.S. without working illegally or suffering from poverty.

Without an I-20, it is not possible to obtain a student visa or keep lawful F-1 student status when transferring from one school to another in the U.S.

I have been asked to 'Proof of Funding' to obtain my I-20 & Student Visa. What do I need to provide?

It is a requirement of both the U.S & Canadian Government that any person entering the country on an Student Visa (F1 in the USA & CIC Study Permit in Canada) has the means of supporting themselves financially during their time in the country. 

Typically, you will need to show proof of funds for the duration of the study mentioned on the I20. College’s and Universities usually estimate the tuition fee and living expenses for 12 months of study at the school.

If you are receiving scholarship funding towards your studies and towards your living expenses then it is likely that you will only be required to demonstrate the financial capability to fund the shortfall between the total cost of attending your college/university (i.e. Tuition Fee’s, Accommodation, Meals & Books) and the scholarship amount you are receiving from the college/university.

The college/university might also factor in additional expenses that you should account for in your ‘Financial Affidavit/Proof of Funding’ documentation.

Proof of your Financial situation can be anyone of the following:

A. Confirmation from the University/College with an outline of the Scholarship Award being granted.

B. Financial aid from the student’s home government if your govt. is sponsoring for your studies in any manner.

C. Financial aid from private organisations who may be sponsoring your studies in the United States/Canada.

D. Applicant’s personal resources.This can be provided as a Personal Bank Statement demonstrating access to liquid funds amounting to the amount required to be demonstrated as available on the I20 document.

E. Funds from close family members. Again, this can be provided as a Personal Bank Statement demonstrating access to liquid funds amounting to the amount required to be demonstrated as available on the I20 document.

f. Bonds, Bank, Lands, Fixed assests like agricultural lands, houses, plots. Fixed assets will give very positive impression to Visa Officer at your interview stage.

 

I have been asked to 'Proof of Funding' to obtain my I-20 & Student Visa. What do I need to provide?

It is a requirement of both the U.S & Canadian Governments that any person entering the country on an Student Visa (F1 in the USA & CIC Study Permit in Canada) has the means of supporting themselves financially during their time in the country. 

Typically, you will need to show proof of funds for the duration of the study mentioned on the I20. College’s and Universities usually estimate the tuition fee and living expenses for 12 months of study at the school.

If you are receiving scholarship funding towards your studies and towards your living expenses then it is likely that you will only be required to demonstrate the financial capability to fund the shortfall between the total cost of attending your college/university (i.e. Tuition Fee’s, Accommodation, Meals & Books) and the scholarship amount you are receiving from the college/university.

The college/university might also factor in additional expenses that you should account for in your ‘Financial Affidavit/Proof of Funding’ documentation.

Proof of your Financial situation can be anyone of the following:

A. Confirmation from the University/College with an outline of the Scholarship Award being granted.

B. Financial aid from the student’s home government if your govt. is sponsoring for your studies in any manner.

C. Financial aid from private organisations who may be sponsoring your studies in the United States/Canada.

D. Applicant’s personal resources.This can be provided as a Personal Bank Statement demonstrating access to liquid funds amounting to the amount required to be demonstrated as available on the I20 document.

E. Funds from close family members. Again, this can be provided as a Personal Bank Statement demonstrating access to liquid funds amounting to the amount required to be demonstrated as available on the I20 document.

f. Bonds, Bank, Lands, Fixed assests like agricultural lands, houses, plots. Fixed assets will give very positive impression to Visa Officer at your interview stage.

 

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