Five ways student-athletes can pay college tuition

Parents and student athletes will be surprised to know that college tuition can be paid in very creative ways. In fact, with the national average of college tuition hovering around $34,000 per year for private colleges and $25,000 for state schools,  there are a number of ways for families to relieve the burden of tuition expenses. So before signing a stack of loans take a look at five ways student-athletes can pay for college tuition.

The average college student graduates nearly $40,000 in student loan debt.
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash
  1. Scholarships – financial awards that do not need to be repaid.  Scholarships are awarded for academics and athletics to aid in offsetting the cost of total tuition.  Most collegiate sports, except for D1 football, commonly offer only partial scholarships. However, outstanding academics, including high gpa and college entry exam scores, coupled with exceptional athletic ability significantly impact the overall cost of college tuition. 
  2. Grants – needs based form of financial assistance that students do not repay. Grants are often awarded by information provided in the FASFA application. The Pell Grant is a good example. Investing a little time researching online students can uncover a number of grants available ranging from a few hundred dollars to a several thousand. 
  3. Loans – Federal student loans allow students to borrow money towards tuition. However, strings are attached, in that borrowed money must be repaid with interest. Federal student loans are determined as “needs-based” and fulfilled at subsidized or in some special circumstances interest free. In contrast, other loans are unsubsidized meaning they accrue interest. Parents of a dependent student can also apply for federal loan called the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). According to the US Student Loan Debt Statistics graduating college students leave with just under $40,000 in student loan debt. 
  4. Campus work study– student employment is a way to earn income and gain work experience. Federal work study is determined by student information and needs determined from the FAFSA application. Campus work study is great way for the college student to earn spending cash or to use to offset a student loan. 
  5. Military education benefit- commonly referred to as the GI Bill, Military Tuition Assistance is a benefit of up to $45,000 eligible to active members after service members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses for members. 

The purpose of a college education is to help prepare students for successful careers. Hopefully, these five tips will help students afford a great education and save them a ton of money along the way. 

Be Committed,Coach Mike

Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited.  As a coach with over 20 years of experience, and a as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

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Didn’t sign early? Tips for what’s next for those athletes?

Early signing day is often a bittersweet day for many hopeful recruits. Some athletes get the satisfaction of signing their national letter of intent, securing their future for the next four years, while many other athletes grimace as the taste of uncertainty sours the time until the encroaching Spring signing day. While there are many speculative discussions the answer is most often related to the personal committment to the process. In most instances, the athletes that is the most proactive is often the athletes who gets the most offers. 


Simply put, too many athletes think that the best strategy to play is the waiting game. This is really not a strategy at all. Just wait around for coaches? That’s not much of a strategy at all. For one reason or another, many athletes (and parents) believe in the myth, “if you’re good enough they’ll find you.” Sure this is true for some athletes…for the top 1% athletes. But what about the other 99%? Those are the guys who are often very good athletes but get overlooked. These athletes often attend small high schools, play on average or below average teams, get little or no help from high school coaches, and have little additional resources to invest in recruiting opportunities. So what about those athletes? What do they need to know and actions do they need to take. This blog is for those athletes.

Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash


The recruiting process is a process in which it is vitally important for athlete to be proactive, not reactive.


The recruiting process is a process in which it is vitally important for athlete to be proactive, not reactive. For example, he/she needs to be bold enough to connect with college coaches at schools they have both an academic and athletic interest. In this circumstance, NCAA communication regulations favor athletes open communication with college coaches. Additionally, athletes can take advantage of exposure opportunities including camps and campus visits starting Freshman year. 


Consequently, athletes need to think to ‘be wise when you decide’. What’s meant by this is that the colleges you choose to top your list that are realistically matched to suit you from both a academic and athletic standpoint. Here’s a good tip when processing this list. It’s is wise to develop a tier system the pursuit of choice college. For example, tier 1 can be dream schools, tier 2 can be schools that are appropriately matched to fit academic and athletic goals, and tier 3 would consist of contingency colleges that may not be optimal but as a contingency would offer both academic and athlete challenges.    


Finally, the proactive suggestion is to constantly remember that if you wait and you’re late. Certainly, those that wait for someone to discover them will surely get behind and feel the pressure of uncertainty about where they will end up the next four years. 


Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited.  As a coach with over 20 years of experience, and a as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Email: Mwoosley@csaprepstar.com Office 805-622-7827

Early Signing Period for 2019 Football

December 19, 2018 kicks off the second early signing period for college football.  During this short three day time period many early commits will be signing to play collegiate football. To that select group, I say congratulations! However, many more high school student athletes have yet to sign. In fact, most high school seniors will sign between February 6 and April 1. So this short blog is for them. Those that are still teetering in the process. Many have offers while others are still hoping to find a good fit.  Here are a two helpful tips.

First, do not be discouraged. It is important for 2019 football players is to stay the course with their recruiting. A lot of recruiting is still taking place. College coaches continue to look to fill  roster spots with qualified, committed and eligible athletes.  A lot can happen between December and  April so stay focused and be proactive!

At this time it is tremendously important for student-athletes to continue to keep their grades up and if possible improve their overall GPA. At this time of year, it is tempting for Seniors to think its okay to coast. But, actually its time to buckle-down. Every academic point, GPA, ACT or SAT will equate to additional money in college. academic and athletic scholarship. In contrast, every point that is rendered results in additional college tuition cost.

For many 2019 prospective student athletes have investing years of hard work and dedication. The end is near. And with the right attitude and focus the end will not be the end at all, but a beginning of a new chapter filled with amazing opportunities and exciting experiences. Good luck to the class of 2019!

Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited.  As a coach with over 20 years of experience, and a as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Coach Mike – Email: mwoosley@csaprepstar.com   Office: 805-622-STAR

SIGNING THE NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT IN THE MIDST OF COACHING CHANGES: What to know

Photo Credit: https://forums.operationsports.com

Any attentive college sports fan has noticed the recent hiring, firing or retiring of many college coaches. Usually, the coaching carousel that follows perennial collegiate football programs probably gets the most media attention. Yet, firings, hirings and retirements are prevalent at every collegiate level and in every collegiate sport.

Every year, there are athletes who suffer the effects of the coaching carousel so the purpose of this article is to inform the athlete who is committment to a college team without a coach. Its important to know the options available and most importantly, the questions that should be asked to help prevent this becoming a painful situation.

To begin, once a student signs the NLI he/she is contractually bound to a one year committment to that college. Its important to note that in the eyes of the NCAA the committment is to the college, not to the coach. Unfortunately, this leaves out the human element of relationships. So, a problem arises when the coach that recruits an athlete moves on and no longer coaches at the college. Often, that recruiting coach is a very influential factor in the college selection process. So when he/she moves on athletes often feel duped, then want to decommit.  But its not that simple because once the NLI is signed the NCAA does not allow transfer without penalty.

Without question NLI’s are water tight. The NCAA uses this language in the NLI document to assure the binding agreement is to the college.

“I understand I have signed this NLI with the institution and not for a particular sport or coach. If a coach leaves the institution or the sports program (e.g., not retained, resigns), I remain bound by the provisions of this NLI. I understand it is not uncommon for a coach to leave his or her coaching position.” (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/coachingChange.html)

No doubt about it, to get out of an NLI is an arduous process. However, in rare cases the NCAA does allow students to be let out of their NLI.  Again, it’s a long process that first is reviewed by the NLI Appeals Committee a on a case by case basis (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/releaseRequest.html).

So, to help avoid this situation here are a few good questions to ask the recruiting coach throughout the recruiting process and before the dotted line is signed.

  • Does the coach have a history of staying with programs long term?
  • Also, when you interviewing with a prospective coach ask about how long he/she intends to stay at the school?
  • Lastly, if you are skeptical, ask if its okay that you commit to the college but not sign the NLI?

The take home is not to be afraid to ask the hard questions. After-all, the next 4 years of your life are potentially tied to this coach. It would be a shame to sacrifice a year of eligibility to a coach who won’t stay put.

Communicating with Coaches during the Fall

Often I compare the recruiting process to a roller-coaster. The speed of the cart is determined by the track. How the track is designed involves many twists and turns as well as places where the pace becomes so slow that it seems to stop. Like a roller-coaster, and depending on the sport, recruiting in the Fall can simultaneously cause both excitement and anxiety so here a few tips to as you buckle-in for the ride.
During the Fall, and after the window of the contact period closes, it is very important to know what contact period of your sport and the communication regulations that accompany them. This information is easy to locate within the NCAA and NAIA regulations on their respective websites. This information can also be accessed  in your Prepstar profile.
Now, be aware that all divisions (D1, D2, D3, etc) have similar, but different, communication rules. For example, D2 coaches have much more leniency  with communications in comparison to D1 coaches.  Additionally, in football, FBS schools (those that go to bowl games) have similar contact periods but different number of evaluation opportunities.

The key to communicating in the Fall is to be proactive! Throughout the year, and at any time, athletes are permitted to contact coaches. This means that to communicate with college coach outside of designated contact periods, student-athletes have to be the one to initiate contact. Additionally, this rule also applies to underclassmen (Freshman and Sophomores). Again, no matter what time of year and no matter the contact period, college coaches are permitted to talk with prospects as long as the prospect makes the first move to contact them.

So, I highly recommend that student-athletes take the initiative to reach out to coaches with emails, texts and voicemails.  Don’t ever wait for them to call you, instead you call them.

To wrap up, it is an understatement to say that recruiting is a year round process. There is no downtime because college coaches are always recruiting. So use the latter part of year to your advantage. For Fall sports this is a great time of year to get aquatinted with coaches, take visits and build that ever important recruiting relationship. Likewise, student-athletes that play winter or spring sports can use the Fall to as a great opportunity to get on the radar and generate interest from coaches for the upcoming seasons.

Good luck!

Coach Mike oversees the the recruiting of talented next-level athletes to develop a recruiting strategy to get seen, scouted and recruited.  As a coach with over 20 years of experience, and a as former college athlete, Mike now mentors families through the academic, athletic and financial aspects of college recruiting.  

Coach Mike – Email: mwoosley@csaprepstar.com   Office: 805-622-STAR

Signing the National Letter of Intent: What it means

Each year I have athletes that commit and sign during the early signing period so I want to make sure to pass along some important information about the meaning of signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI). To review, early signing dates for 2019 student-athletes are November 14-21 for all sports except football and December 19-21 for football only.

Once a student signs the NLI that student is bound to a one year committment to that college. Take note, the committment is to the college, not to the coach. So keep this in mind when making your final decision.

To make this concept concrete, the NCAA uses this language within the NLI to assure the binding agreement is to the college not the coach.

“I understand I have signed this NLI with the institution and not for a particular sport or coach. If a coach leaves the institution or the sports program (e.g., not retained, resigns), I remain bound by the provisions of this NLI. I understand it is not uncommon for a coach to leave his or her coaching position.” (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/coachingChange.html
Now, should a coaching change occur, or if the student-athlete has a change of heart, it will be a very difficult to get out of a binding NLI agreement. However, in very few cases the NCAA does allow students to be let out of their NLI. But the process is long and has to be reviewed by the NCAA on a case by case basis by the NLI AppealsCommittee. (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/releaseRequest.html)

So, before committing research the coaching history and tenure of the coach. Does he/she have a history of staying with programs long term? Also, when you interviewing with a prospective coach ask about how long he/she intends to stay at the school.

Lastly, if you are uncertain, ask if its okay that you commit to the college but not sign the NLI.  Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. After-all, the next 4 years of your life are potentially tied to the college but not necessarily the coach.

Signing the National Letter of Intent:  What it means

Each year I have athletes that commit and sign during the early signing period so I want to make sure to pass along some important information about the meaning of signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI). To review, early signing dates for 2019 student-athletes are November 14-21 for all sports except football and December 19-21 for football only.

Once a student signs the NLI that student is bound to a one year committment to that college. Take note, the committment is to the college, not to the coach. So keep this in mind when making your final decision.

To make this concept concrete, the NCAA uses this language within the NLI to assure the binding agreement is to the college not the coach.

“I understand I have signed this NLI with the institution and not for a particular sport or coach. If a coach leaves the institution or the sports program (e.g., not retained, resigns), I remain bound by the provisions of this NLI. I understand it is not uncommon for a coach to leave his or her coaching position.” (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/coachingChange.html

Now, should a coaching change occur, or if the student-athlete has a change of heart, it will be a very difficult to get out of a binding NLI agreement. However, in very few cases the NCAA does allow students to be let out of their NLI. But the process is long and has to be reviewed by the NCAA on a case by case basis by the NLI AppealsCommittee. (http://www.nationalletter.org/nliProvisions/releaseRequest.html)

So, before committing research the coaching history and tenure of the coach. Does he/she have a history of staying with programs long term? Also, when you interviewing with a prospective coach ask about how long he/she intends to stay at the school. Lastly, if you are uncertain, ask if its okay that you commit to the college but not sign the NLI.  Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. After-all, the next 4 years of your life are potentially tied to the college but not necessarily the coach.