College Rowing Scholarships | Best College Rowing Teams

If you are a woman wanting to pursue the sport at the collegiate level, the advantage is in your favor when it comes to being offered college rowing scholarships. A major reason for this is the fact women’s rowing is a sanctioned NCAA sport. Men’s rowing isn’t a sanctioned NCAA sport. Women’s rowing is also a NCAA ‘equivalency’ sport which means partial-to-full women’s athletic scholarships are available for you. NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools are each limited to a full scholarship total of 20. Broken into partial scholarships, the average number of women’s college rowing scholarships for a D1 or D2 crew is 39.


Women’s Rowing Scholarships Rowing Scholarship ERG Times
Men’s Rowing Scholarships Best College Rowing Teams
How to Get a Rowing Scholarship What Colleges Have Rowing Teams?
How Good Do I Need to Be to Get a College Rowing Scholarship? Top Rowing Schools by Division
Colleges That Offer Rowing Scholarships Get Recruited for Rowing


College Rowing Scholarships for Women

Division Level # of Women’s Scholarships # of Women’s Teams Average Team Size
NCAA I 20 88 47
NCAA II 20 16 26
NCAA III 41 26
NAIA 2 16

Women’s rowing is an NCAA equivalency sport which means universities with rowing programs are permitted to offer scholarships. The ‘equivalency’ distinction allows schools to offer scholarships which tally up to the equivalent amount of 20 ‘full’ scholarships. This means a college may offer you anywhere from a full scholarship to any size ‘partial’ scholarship amount.

There are a variety of partial scholarship offerings. For instance, you may be awarded half-tuition. Or, you may receive an offer paying for your room and meals. Or, the offer may be an allotment to pay for your books and lab fees.

Not all scholarship-eligible universities will offer athletic scholarships. The Ivy League schools such as Yale, Harvard and Princeton, choose not to offer athletic grants-in-aid. Like NCAA Division 3 schools, though, these schools will offer other forms of financial aid.

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Are There Men’s Rowing Scholarships?

Men’s college rowing scholarships aren’t as widely available as women’s college rowing scholarships. A small number of colleges and universities do offer men’s rowing scholarships. The actual total of men’s rowing scholarships nationwide would not match the total number of women’s rowing scholarships within some major college conferences. Stanford University, Boston University, Northeastern University and the University of California are some of the major D1 universities which offer men’s rowing scholarships. Ivy League schools such as Princeton and Harvard do not offer men’s rowing scholarships, but there are financial assistance grants available if you qualify for these.

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How to Get a Rowing Scholarship

Rowing has a tremendous amount of scholarship opportunities for those who are willing to look for them. Despite the large number of scholarships available, don’t expect coaches to actively recruit athletes that did not contact them first. You must get in contact with coaches that are the right fit for you.

  • Research colleges which offer college rowing programs and the area of study for your desired educational ‘major.’
  • Search the rowing program’s website and fill out the ‘Recruiting Questionnaire.’
  • If you are a high school or club rower INCLUDE your 2k ERG Score.
  • If your high school did not have a rowing team, you must include information regarding your athletic abilities (rowing coaches also consider athletes from other sports, particularly endurance sports).
  • Introduce yourself to the college rowing coach through introductory email a few weeks after filling out the recruiting questionnaire.

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Can You Get A Scholarship for Rowing? How Good Do You Have to Be?

While the erg is not the only measure of a rower, it is used by many coaches to get an idea of an athlete’s capabilities. Many coaches recruit based on academic history combined with the athletic potential of the applicant. Rowers need to have stamina, good balance and timing, and lots of strength. Unlike other college sports, you don’t need any experience to join a rowing team in college. As long as you are willing to put in the hard work and the time, you can be part of a team as a novice.

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Colleges That Offer Rowing Scholarships

Opportunities to earn college rowing scholarships are available for you. If you are a woman, there are many more such opportunities. There are approximately 90 NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities with rowing programs and many of them have women’s rowing scholarship monies available. Schools such as Ohio State, the University of Michigan, Stanford University and San Diego State provide women’s rowing scholarships (including full grants-in-aid) as a method of satisfying Title IX requirements.

If you’re looking at a men’s college rowing scholarship, there are less opportunities than those for women, but include west coast schools such as the University of Washington, Stanford University and the University of California. Boston University and Northeastern University lead the east coast educational institutions offering men’s college rowing scholarships. As a male rower, you must also recognize many collegiate rowing programs will assist you in gaining admissions into the school itself. This can lead to being eligible for academic-related financial opportunities.

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Rowing Recruiting 2k Times – Rowing Scholarships ERG Times

  • 7:10-7:20 (Elite) – If you’ve recorded times within this range, you can expect to get a few phone calls from interested D1 coaches. To get to this stage of rowing, you will have completely absorbed the discipline of strength, aerobic and cross training as part of your daily routines. Add favorable GPA and ACT scores and you may be one of the elites and be on your way to successfully obtaining your college rowing scholarship.
  • 7:20-7:30 (Very Good) – If you land in this range many college recruiters will place you in the 90th percentile of the college rowing scholarship talent pool. Not quite at the level of the ‘elite’ status, but nonetheless you will have grasped the idea of what’s necessary in year-round training in order to perform at your peak conditioning in competitive rowing.
  • 7:30-7:40 (Good) – If you’re clocking in around here the college rowing scholarship is still very much within reach. College rowing coaches sees you as having the potential to become a contributing rower after a season or two working out under collegiate conditions. Grades are always important, but if your timing fits here the better the grades the better your opportunity.
  • 7:40-8:00 (Above Average) – It’s this erg range where your college rowing scholarship options are likely to be with a D2 sized program. Better GPA and ACT scores definitely come into play here, as it could also mean academic monies at the D2, D3 level institutions.

Lightweight Rowing Recruiting 2k Times

  • D1: Sub 7:45

Novice Rowing Recruiting 2k Times

  • Division 1: Sub 7:30
  • Division 2: Sub 8:00

Rowing Recruiting 5k ERG and 6k ERG Times

  • Rowing Recruiting 5K ERG Times
  • D1: 20:00
  • Rowing Recruiting 6K ERG Times
  • D1: 24:00

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Is Men’s Rowing an NCAA Sport?

Men’s rowing isn’t a sanctioned sport by the NCAA. Instead, collegiate men’s rowing competitions are governed by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association. If the college men’s rowing program is a club sport, it is governed by the American Collegiate Rowing Association. The ACRA was formed after the IRA eliminated club rowing teams from competing for the IRA Championship.

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Best College Rowing Teams and Rowing Scholarships

A list of universities offering collegiate rowing programs for you to consider contains a diversified mix of schools throughout the nation. In addition to looking at the competitive level (championships won, prominent regatta schedules, e.g.) of programs offering men’s collegiate rowing scholarships or women’s collegiate rowing scholarships you will want to examine areas such as training facilities and educational program offerings you are considering.

While west coast rowing teams from schools such as Stanford University or the University of California have made tremendous progress in men’s and women’s rowing competitions, you will find the tradition-rich east coast university teams to be near the top in rankings annually.

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Best College Rowing Teams

  1. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  2. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
  3. Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)
  4. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  5. Columbia University (New York, NY)
  6. Duke University (Durham, NC)
  7. Brown University (Providence, RI)
  8. Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  9. Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
  10. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

As you can see the Ivy League learning institutions are well-represented, not only for the long-standing tradition of educational excellence, but for the success of their respective competitive rowing programs. Not to be outdone, Stanford University and Duke University have added to the completion recently. There are several teams which did not make the Top 10 list but have made impressive strides in competitive rowing. These include rowing programs from Notre Dame, Georgetown and Virginia with USC, UCLA and the University of California improving.

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College Rowing Teams – What Colleges Have a Rowing Team?

Division # of Women’s Teams # of Men’s Teams
NCAA D1 88 35
NCAA D2 16 6
NCAA D3 41 27
NAIA 2 2
Totals 147 70

The bulk of the universities and colleges which fund rowing programs are NCAA D1 institutions, with D3 schools more than doubling D2 rowing programs. Of the 88 D1 colleges, only 35 of them support a men’s rowing team. All 88 schools have women’s rowing programs. Similarly, only six of the D2 and 27 of the D3 colleges have men’s rowing programs.

Did you know 85 percent of collegiate rowers were members of either a high school or club rowing team? The remaining participants come from varied high school athletic backgrounds. It’s also important to realize the time commitment necessary to participate as a collegiate rower. It’s almost like a full-time job while attending college. Rowers can look to spend 28 hours per week in training and team-related activities in addition to an average 46 hours per week earmarked for academics.

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Top NCAA D1 Rowing Schools

  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
  • Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Duke University (Durham, NC)
  • Brown University (Providence, RI)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Top NCAA D2 Rowing Schools

  • University of California – San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • Rollins College (Winter Park, FL)
  • Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA)
  • Barry University (Miami, FL)
  • Assumption College (Worcester, MA)
  • Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, NH)
  • University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, OK)
  • Philadelphia University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, WA)
  • Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)

Top NCAA D3 Rowing Schools

  • Tufts University (Medford, MA)
  • Wesleyan University (Middleton, CT)
  • Williams College (Williamstown, MA)
  • Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)
  • Vassar College (Dutchess County, NY)
  • Hamilton College (Clinton, NY)
  • Colby College (Waterville, ME)
  • Bates College (Lewsiton, ME)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
  • University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

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