The NCAA Division 2 is the smallest of the three NCAA Divisions. Division 2 colleges, like Division 1 schools, offer athletic scholarships. However, they do not offer as many scholarships in many sports and are not required to sponsor as many varsity teams as D1 programs. They also tend to offer more partial scholarships. However, since they aren’t required to offer headcount scholarships, you will often find D2 colleges actually sponsor more varsity teams than required.
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The competition at NCAA D2 colleges is generally considered lower than D1 schools. However, unlike D1 teams, D2 teams can offer tryouts to prospective athletes. The two divisions also have different academic requirements. But students in both divisions must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
What Kind of Colleges are D2
Of the 301 NCAA D2 (2018) colleges, 60 qualify as 50-50 colleges, these are US schools where at least 50% of the students graduate and have at least a 50% acceptance rate. This is an increase from the 40 from 2013. Only 18 of the 26 D2 athletic conferences have 50-50 schools and 9 of those have only 2 or fewer. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference had the most with 12, followed by the Northeast 10 Conference with 9, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference and Pacific West Conference with 5 each.
There are 25 pubic D2 50-50 colleges and 35 private ones. Pennsylvania has the most 50-50 D2 Colleges (14), followed by California with 8 and Missouri with 5. They range in size from under 600 full-time undergraduates to over 21,000. You’ll find the lowest average ACT at 20 and the highest at 30. For the SAT, the averages were 580 and 1380 respectively.
Pay Attention to College Costs
Given that the chances of full-ride scholarships aren’t great, you’ll want to pay attention to test scores for more than just NCAA requirements. Total cost of attendance (out-of-state for public) starts at almost $24,000. Three of the colleges are over $60,000. This means you need to have a way to make up the difference that isn’t covered by any athletic scholarships. And you should definitely have a plan in place should you stop playing. The higher your test scores, the more likely you are to qualify for merit aid.
The following table lists the D2 50-50 schools by conference as listed by the NCAA. Schools may compete in different conferences depending on the sport. As usual, the four-year graduation rate is used for private schools and the five-year rate is used for public schools. You can get a complete list of colleges in the DIY College Rankings College Search Spreadsheet.
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50-50 NCAA D2 Colleges with Graduation Rates