NJCAA: Using JUCO as a second chance for NCAA track and field scholarship
Searching for the right university, going through the recruitment process, and managing the pressures of high school can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Streamline Athletes helps high school track and field athletes make confident decisions about where to study and compete at the collegiate level.
Streamline Athletes has recently added NJCAA junior colleges to our platform giving soon-to-be high school graduates even more schools to choose from when going through their own recruitment journey. This addition allows student-athletes to browse through 137 NJCAA D-I schools and gives them the ability to start contacting NJCAA coaches to discover their own scholarship opportunities!
For context, NJCAA stands for the National Junior College Athletic Association and is also referred to as JUCO. The NJCAA is the governing association in the United States for:
- Community colleges
- State colleges
- Junior colleges
There are 525 JUCOs spread throughout three divisions. Only Division I and III offer track and field and/or cross-country programs.
If you have watched Last Chance U on Netflix, you know exactly what JUCOs are!
Why choose the NJCAA?
JUCOs are a very good option for student-athletes who do not have all the requirements to attend an NCAA institution yet. Student-athletes have the ability to move at their own pace when figuring out what is best for them both academically and athletically. It is very common for athletes to use NJCAA programs as a stepping stone in order to access better NCAA opportunities.
These types of colleges are offered all over the United States, but for comparison, the Canadian equivalent of the NJCAA is the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association), which includes schools such as Concordia University of Edmonton and Lethbridge College
NCAA track and field programs expect competitive performances from their incoming athletes so it will naturally be harder to get scholarships with these institutions. The NJCAA can give an athlete the time to get better at their event before doing the big leap into the NCAA.
Many athletes in the NJCAA are strong athletically, but unfortunately have more difficulty with their academics. The NJCAA can offer them the opportunity to get a fresh start academically and give student-athletes the chance to increase their GPA. Many NCAA recruiters look at NJCAA schools for talent.
Key differences between NCAA institutions and NJCAA programs
Most JUCOs that are part of the NJCAA Division I have good funding and the ability to pay tuition fees and housing for athletes through an athletic scholarship offer. As mentioned before, the NJCAA is divided into three divisions, with only D-I and D-III offering track and field programs. That being said scholarships are only available at the D-I level.
NCAA Colleges offer bachelor’s degrees and some offer master’s degrees. NJCAA Junior Colleges and Community Colleges offer trades degrees, technical formations, and other professional certificates like nursing and accountancy. The highest level of certification available at JUCOs are associate degrees.
The tuition cost per year for NCAA colleges is more expensive than NJCAA programs. The average tuition fees per year for public universities is $20,770 USD and $46,950 USD for private ones (according to Value Penguin).
For junior colleges, the average tuition fees per year for public institutions is $8,581 USD and $15,510 USD for private ones (according to Community College Review).
NJCAA colleges are 2-year institutions. When the two years are up, students will most likely have an associate’s degree or a technical degree which gives students the ability to enter the workforce after two years of education. While for some people this is enough, many student-athletes choose to then transfer to a 4-year school in the NCAA/NAIA.
*Note that some NCAA universities are not as academically demanding as others, and it is definitely feasible for student-athletes to complete both their bachelors and masters in 5 years.*
Start Your Recruitment Journey Today!
Streamline Athletes is happy to help you with your own journey towards collegiate athletics. We are the only free-to-use recruitment platform dedicated to track and field/cross country.
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