Athletic Scholarships in the Ivy League


Are you a high school student who wants to receive an athletic scholarship at an Ivy League School? This is a question that many readers have asked about. For those that do not know, the “Ivy League” consists of Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Colombia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, and Penn. Obviously, it would be great if running cross country and track could help pay for your tuition at these great schools.

Now for the answer: There is no such thing as an “athletic scholarship” in the Ivy League. The original agreement (the “Ivy Group Agreement”) between the eight schools to start the League stated: “Athletes shall be admitted as students and awarded financial aid only on the basis of the same academic standards and economic need as are applied to all other students.” This principal still remains in full force and effect. The presidents of the universities continue to maintain that college athletics must be consistent with the educational mission of schools.

The good news for high school runners is that Ivy League schools generally have outstanding financial aid and need based scholarships for students. The goal is to enable lower and middle class students to attend these universities without having to take out loans. This is done through a combination of scholarships, work study programs, and other methods that can make attending an Ivy League School as inexpensive as attending a state school as an in-state student.


To understand the financial benefits available to students, most Ivy League Schools have financial aid calculators that provide the estimated amount of scholarship money available. A good example is Princeton’s calculator.

Of course, financial aid is only relevant if you have been admitted into an Ivy League school. This is obviously very difficult due to the intense competition around the country. Cross-country and track coaches usually have some pull with the admissions office, but not as much as you might think. With that said, if you have an excellent standardized test scores and grade point average, you should not have to worry too much about finances preventing you from attending an Ivy League school.


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