A Closer Look: NAIA and NCAA DIII
What’s the difference between NAIA and NCAA DIII? This is a commonly asked question by institutions trying to determine the best athletic affiliation for their school. While many of the demographics for top performing schools in the NAIA and the NCAA are similar, there are some key differences that set the NAIA apart.
- DIII schools spend 70% more than NAIA schools to offer quality athletic programs.
- NAIA schools spend significantly less to be nationally competitive. The median athletics operating budget difference between the NAIA Top 100 Directors’ Cup schools and all NAIA members was $300,000. For DIII schools, the difference was $1.1 million.
What does all this mean? NAIA members are on a more level playing field financially, competitively, and enrollment-wise. Schools don’t have to be the biggest or have the deepest pockets to experience success in the NAIA. The focus is where it should be – on maximizing your Return on Athletics®.
|NAIA Institutions||Enrollment||Student-Athletes||Operating Budget||Total Budget||Endowment|
|75th percentile||1,566||397||$2.3 MM||$5.2 MM||$88.2 MM|
|Median (50th)||1,013||273||$1.6 MM||$3.2 MM||$40.3 MM|
|MMth percentile||676||158||$1.0 MM||$1.8 MM||$23.3 MM|
NAIA Director's Cup
|NAIA Directors’ Cup||Median Enrollment||Median Op. Budget||Median Total Budget||Median Endowment|
|Top 25||1,459||$2.2 MM||$4.5 MM||$86.8 MM|
|Top 50||1,267||$2.2 MM||$4.4 MM||$47.2 MM|
|Top 100||1,089||$1.9 MM||$3.6 MM||$39.5 MM|
NCAA DIII Institutions
|NCAA DIII Institutions||Enrollment||Student-Athletes||Operating Budget||Total Budget*||Endowment|
|75th percentile||2,805||576||$3.7 MM||N/A||$313.1 MM|
|Median (50th)||1,764||418||$2.8 MM||N/A||$130.3 MM|
|25th percentile||1,157||292||$1.6 MM||N/A||$61.8 MM|
NCAA DIII Director's Cup
|NCAA DIII Directors’ Cup||Median Enrollment||Median Op. Budget||Median Total Budget*||Median Endowment|
|Top 25||5,113||$5.3 MM||N/A||$1.3 B|
|Top 50||2,966||$4.6 MM||N/A||$489.0 MM|
|Top 100||2,283||$3.9 MM||N/A||$222.2 MM|
*NCAA DIII schools report operating budgets only. These amounts do not include financial aid awarded to students that participate in athletics.
Source of the data includes EADA, IPEDs, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Guide Star.