(The list of D2 softball colleges is at the end of the post.) Of the three NCAA divisions, D2 is the smallest for softball. The advantage of playing at a D2 college is that they still offer scholarships unlike D3 schools. While the number of scholarships may be fewer than those in D1, D2 softball college programs will likely have less intense demands on players’ time than D1 schools. This means players may be able to consider doing something else other than playing softball and attending class while in college.
D2 College Softball Locations
D2 is the smallest NCAA division in softball with 288 programs. However, in 19 states there are more D2 programs than D1 and D2 softball colleges outnumber D3 programs in 23 states. Pennsylvania has the most D2 Softball colleges with 22. North Carolina and California follow with 18 each. There are 13 states with 10 or more D2 softball colleges. Seven states don’t have any and another seven have only one.
D2 College Softball Scholarships
Softball is an equivalency sport for scholarships which means that one scholarship may be split among several players. D2 softball colleges are allowed a maximum of 7.2 scholarships per team. CSS provides a breakdown by position on how coaches use scholarships in recruiting. You can see a difference in D1 and D2 player characteristics and skill level expectations at AthNet.
Average Expenses per Team
According to the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), in 2018 six D2 softball colleges have expenses of $600,000 or more.
Colleges with Expenses Greater than $600,000
- Long Island University Post, NY $1,697,659
- The Academy of Art University, CA $682,596
- Lindenwood University, MO $658,152
- Texas A&M University-Commerce $526,998
- University of North Alabama $605,777
- Florida Southern College $600,347
A total of 8 colleges had expenses less than $100,000. The average for all teams was $323,170.
Only one conference had an average expense of over $600,000.
Conferences with Highest Average Expenses
- Atlantic Sun Conference $605,777
- Florida Sun Conference $530,452
- East Coast Conference $516,306
- Sunshine State Conference $479,487
- Heartland Conference $444,497
Conferences with Lowest Average Expenses
- Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association $ 157,419
- Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference $189,336
- Eastern College Athletic Conference $216,825
- Mountain East Conference $241,592
- West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference $257,359
Graduation Rates for D2 Softball Colleges
Generally graduation rates for athletes are higher than the general student population, especially in non-revenue sports. Yet, schools still don’t make it easy to look up sport specific graduation rates. You can see how to at How to Find Student-Athlete Graduation Rates.
However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the school’s general graduation rate. Softball can end for a variety of reasons, including injuries or just a desire not to play anymore. In any of these cases, students should have some idea of what their chances are of graduating.
The average 4-year graduation rate for D2 softball colleges is 34%. It’s 42% for private institutions and 26% for public. Bentley University had the highest 4-year graduation rate at 85%. Saint Michael’s College, Stonehill College, Saint Anselm College, and Rockhurst University rounded out the top five with graduation rates in the 70’s. There are 58 D2 softball colleges where the 4-year graduation rate was below 30%.
The Northeast 10 Conference had the highest unweighted 4-year graduation rate average of 57%. The Sunshine State Conference followed with 47% and the Great Lakes Valley Conference with 45%. Only seven conferences had averages of 40% or greater.
How big are D2 softball colleges?
Softball players looking to play at the D2 level will find the majority of colleges to have fewer than 5,000 full-time undergraduates. A little over 60% of the schools have are even smaller, with less than 3,000 full-time undergraduates. A total of 44 softball colleges have between 5,000 to 9,999 full-time undergraduates on campus. Only 19 D2 softball schools have 10,000 or more full-time undergraduates.
The type of colleges match the general sizes according to the Carnegie Classifications. Masters Levels institutions account for the majority of the schools for a total of 181. Of the 56 Baccalaureate colleges, 16 are considered Liberal Arts Colleges. A total of 47 D2 softball schools are Doctoral/Professional schools.
How much do D2 softball colleges cost?
Since softball is an equivalency sport and the maximum number of scholarships D2 softball schools are allowed is 7.2, most softball players need to worry about costs. You need to keep in mind that not all colleges fully fund their scholarships.
The most expensive d2 softball college for the 2019-20 year was Bentley University which had a total cost of attendance of $71,320. Rollins College came in second with a sticker price of $70,026 followed by Pace University-New York at $68,252. Of course, public universities are less expensive than private institutions for those qualifying for in-state tuition.
But the costs are still more than most families anticipate. The Colorado School of Mines charges $36,652, UC-San Diego was $33,849, and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania was $30,614. Out-of-state students are looking at prices above $60,000 for the first two schools. One thing to check is if athletes automatically qualify for in-state tuition at public schools.
Another thing families should check is the average net price. This is the average price undergraduates pay after deducting all gift aid such as scholarships and grants. In other words, this is the average of how much students actually pay. Some are going to pay more, some less depending on their family income. While these numbers will be much lower than the sticker price, remember where they’re starting from. Bentley’s students received an average of $30,000 in gift aid. However, it only brings the average net price to $41,582. Families can get a better idea of how much financial aid they’ll qualify for by using the school’s net price calculator.
D2 College Softball Teams
The following data is from the OPE using the Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool. The information is from 2018 so the division and conference may not be current for schools. Check with the NCAA for the most recent listing of D2 softball programs by conferences. All of this data can be found in the DIY College Rankings Softball Spreadsheet.
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NCAA D2 Softball Colleges with Expenses
|wdt_ID||Name||ST||Type||Conference||2018 Expenses||Full-time Undergraduates||Total Price Out-State Students 2019-20|
|1||Auburn University at Montgomery||AL||Public||Gulf South Conference||343,950||3,483||30,322|
|2||Miles College||AL||Private||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||229,554||1,383||22,894|
|3||Spring Hill College||AL||Private||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||312,258||1,148||59,062|
|4||Tuskegee University||AL||Private||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference||252,935||2,250||40,750|
|5||University of Alabama in Huntsville||AL||Public||Gulf South Conference||527,826||6,711||40,032|
|6||University of Montevallo||AL||Public||Peach Belt Conference||455,696||1,990||40,738|
|7||University of North Alabama||AL||Public||Atlantic Sun Conference||605,777||4,900||32,350|
|8||University of West Alabama||AL||Public||Gulf South Conference||458,430||1,881||32,305|
|9||Arkansas Tech University||AR||Public||Great American Conference||398,172||6,609||25,174|
|10||Harding University||AR||Private||Great American Conference||414,964||3,514||31,911|
|Name||ST||Type||Conference||2018 Expenses||Full-time Undergraduates||Total Price Out-State Students 2019-20|