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March 26, 2009 - College athletic scholarships come up short to pay for full cost of attendance

The National College Players Association (NCPA) recently issued a press release announcing the results of a study which revealed the estimated shortfall between college athletes’ full scholarships and the actual cost of attendance at each Division I university. The study demonstated that NCAA scholarship limitations can leave a full scholarship athlete with expenses ranging from as low as $200 per year up to more than $6,000 per year.  Over a five year period, a “full” scholarship athlete may have to pay up to $30,000 for the full cost of attendance. According to the NCPA, scholarship limits imposed by the NCAA prohibit colleges from providing athletic scholarships that equal the cost of attendance (college expenses beyond tuition, room and board, and books), which results in athletes being expected to pay for expenses that are not covered by a full athletic scholarship.

“The fact is, coaches fill high school recruits’ heads with promises of free rides and full scholarships, when in fact no such things exist.  The NCAA designs full scholarships to fall short of the advertised price tag of a school, leaving recruits scrambling to make ends meet,” stated United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard.

The average amount a full scholarship athlete would be required to pay for full cost of attendance amounted to $2,763 per year, or more than $13,800 over the course of five years.  Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis had the highest scholarship shortfall, amounting to over $6,000 per year, followed closely by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, East Tennessee State University, Saint Louis University, University of Louisville and Charleston Southern University, all with a greater than $5,000 per year estimated shortfall. The University of South Carolina Upstate recorded the smallest scholarship shortfall at $200 per year.  Other universities with the smallest scholarship shortfalls include: Gardner-Webb University; Colgate University; College of the Holy Cross; Providence College and Tulane University, ranging from a $700 to over $900 per year shortfall.

To use the NCPA's scholarship shortfall search tool for each of the 336 NCAA Division I institutions, click here.