The NCAA strictly limits the number of scholarships that each school can distribute. Each Division 1 lacrosse program has 12.69 scholarships for men and 12 for women. In Division 2 there are 10.8 scholarships for men and 9.9 for women. Unlike football, lacrosse is a NCAA equivalency sport, which means the scholarships can be spread among many players. Typically, a coach will divide the scholarship into several partial scholarships as opposed to giving only a few athletes full scholarships. It’s a lower risk strategy because some of the scholarship recipients will fall short of expectations, get injured, become academically ineligible, or drop out.
Also, realize that the scholarships are not just earmarked for incoming freshmen, but are used for all athletes on the team. This may include as many as 40 sophomores, juniors, seniors.
It is very difficult for a coach to offer “full rides.” What also may happen is that an upperclassman may have his or her scholarship amount increased in an effort to retain that player. A quarter scholarship may be improved to a half scholarship. Which means the “extra” scholarship money has to come from another athlete.
As a result, thousands of outstanding high school athletes are never offered even partial scholarships. Many don’t even receive passing interest from coaches. Keep in mind that scholarship awards are on a year-to-year basis. While a coach cannot guarantee you will receive the same award in future years, it is normal practice that it will be renewed at the same level.
Even if you are fortunate enough to get all or some of your tuition paid by an athletic scholarship, you may still have other significant costs like room and board, books, entertainment, and transportation to and from school. D-III, D-I Ivy League and Patriot League schools do not offer any athletic scholarships (American University, a Patriot League member is the exception). Military academies like Air Force, West Point, Navy, and the Coast Guard are tuition free; however admission requires a congressional recommendation and service requirements.
In addition to allocating scholarships, a coach can consult financial aid officers on your behalf to determine what non-athletic aid might be available. However, you should personally check out for yourself other areas of help since you cannot expect the coach to explore all available options for each prospect.