Field Hockey Scholarships
Women’s Sport, Big Scholarships
The sport of field hockey became an official part of the American sports fabric in the 1920s when the game was brought from England. While many people associate the game with women, men were the original players. Most college campuses feature only women's varsity field hockey, but it's at least worth noting that the Field Hockey World Cup features men's teams as well as women's.
Elite Field Hockey
Earning a Field Hockey scholarship to a college or university means you are among stiff competition. Only NCAA Division I and II schools offer athletic scholarships, but you can find excellent field hockey competition among the smaller colleges and universities.
Currently there are 78 Division I and 25 Division II field hockey programs. Each Division I program may offer 12 athletic scholarships and each Division II program, 6.3. In the swarm of good to above average field hockey players, that's not many scholarships.
Finding Money for Div III Schools
There are 155 Div III field hockey programs, more than D 1 and D 2 combined. These 155 programs are not able to lure athletes with field hockey scholarships. So how do D 3 teams manage to attract and keep the very talented field hockey athletes they do?
Coaches at D 3 schools have just as much desire to build strong teams, so they strategically leverage the merit and need-based scholarship money at the school to draw talented athletes and student academics. Another advantage to a D 3 field hockey team: players are not at risk for nearly the same level of performance stress as that of athletes that play for scholarship teams.
Top Field Hockey Programs
Here are some of the top field hockey programs in the country. They offer full and partial scholarships to the best field hockey athletes they can net. Smaller programs will often combine academic and need-based scholarships with partial athletic scholarships.
- Duke University recruits some of the top field hockey players in the country. Not only has Duke garnered athletic accolades, but it is one of the top learning institutions in the country and offers competitive academic scholarships besides athletic.
- The Diane Wright Field Hockey Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut is just one among dozens of other athletic scholarships named and funded by college donors. Wright was a Connecticut field hockey coach.
- Wake Forest University began including field hockey scholarships among its athletic program in 1992.
- University of North Carolina regularly fields one of the most competitive field hockey teams. Coach Karen Shelton has been at the helm of this team for over 27 years.
There are numerous smaller NCAA Division I and II schools that offer full or partial field hockey scholarships and pride themselves on their level of athletic and academic competition; they include:
- Boston College field hockey, a D1 program, recruits a handful of the finest high school players (generally from the Northeast) each year.
- Northeastern University in Boston is a D1 school and offers scholarships to women in field hockey.
- Miami University in Ohio has a strong women's D1 field hockey program and regularly signs top-notch players to their team.
- Division II Merrimack College offers scholarships in women's field hockey. Merrimack solicits scholarship support from alumni and fans of the institution.
The NCAA provides a comprehensive breakdown of schools that offer field hockey programs by Division.
NCAA Rules You Need to Know
NCAA rules forbid coaches from contacting high school athletes until they have begun their junior year, so if you are a high school freshman or sophomore and trying to contact a coach or athletic staff, don't expect a response. For serious athletes make sure you get yourself listed on the Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, the first step to qualifying for NCAA play.
Special NCAA Scholarships
The NCAA offers its Postgraduate Scholarships each year to nearly 200 college athletes, including field hockey players, who are entering their final year of play. Recipients are recognized for top athletic achievement in combination with academic success. Athletes must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered.