NCAA DIVISION III
DR. JOHN H. HARVEY:
UNDERSTANDING FINANCIAL AID AWARDS
(Monday, June 8, 11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m.)
There have been a couple of developments in the last three or four months that I'd like to bring up to you that
I think will provide for you a better expression of the Division III philosophy and principles of financial aid. Keep in mind all of the time, that you know, as I know, that there are always perceptions and misperceptions about what's going on in fmancial aid at other institutions. I'm sure your coaches come to you, like mine come to me, and bring many reports of what's going at such and such an institution and how they're altering something in financial aid. There's probably fact in many of these reports and there's probably some fiction is many of these reports too. This panics some people and makes us think that perhaps further revisions or tightening down is needed. Again, I emphasize that we find out that these are misperceptions even though there is probably some substance to them.
As to current developments, there's no new legislation that we know about, however, as you've now read, in Division Ill, the Institutional Self-Study Guide is going to be the Division Ill's route to certification. Certification is one of the big pushes these days. Fortunately, for Division Ill, the Institutional Self-Study Guide, a revised version, is our means of certification. Last Monday, was the fIrst meeting of the sub-committee to revise the Institutional Self- Study Guide to make it appropriate for Division Ill. Those of you who have gone through the Guide realize that in those 24 pages, there's quite a few items there which are strictly related to Division I. The fIrst effort of the committee has been to reduce and refme the guide to make it completely appropriate for Division III and to eradicate the Division I references. I might say, that even before we did that. as we started that full day of going line by line through the Guide, we fIrst pulled out the Division III philosophy as is expressed for us, and we think that most of the principles are still very valid and very good. We reminded ourselves of what the philosophical principles of Division III are in order to give that as a background for our altering.
One of the major principles is the unique Division III use of financial aid and how we administer it. That's going to be one of the major areas in the Institutional Self-Study Guide which is emphasized and re-emphasized and we hope further clarified for Division III uses. Each time the guide is used, the fmancial aid principles are highlighted, clarified, etc. We see this as a good opportunity and not just a way of complying with the certification process, but a great opportunity to use that instrument in a very positive and constructive way for defining, re- defining and emphasizing all of the principles that are appropriate to Division III. That's going to be a good effort for us and one place that we can re-emphasize our policies in regard to fmancial aid.
The same thing applies to gender equity. We're hoping to revise all statements and any references in the Institutional Self-Study Guide that have to do with gender equity.
Another recent development is the formulation of a new statement having to do with financial aid in Division III. We felt that there isn't enough communication of that policy in the printed material that the institutions publish. Not just in recruiting material for athletes, of course, but in all the publications of institutions. We revised and came up with a statement that is very similar to affIrmative action statements or equal opportunity statements that you read in publications from your institutions. This is a statement that has to do with financial aid and Division Ill's particular methods of administering fmancial aid The Office of Legislative Services is encouraging all institutions to use the statement in all publications so that prospective students, their parents, etc., will know the particular principles under which we operate. We think that these two vehicles, the Institutional Self-Study Guide and this statement that we now encourage people to use in all of their publications, will help prevent some of the misunderstandings that sometimes have been the causes of our troubles in the past
Those are the recent developments that are of interest to us having to do with financial aid.
F. PAUL HOGAN:
Bill Marshall is the athletic director at Franklin Marshall College and he will present some new areas of concern and some questions. Bill.
Thank you, Paul. I was just handed a newspaper article that talks about a discrimination charge against one of our member institutions in Division III, alleging that the school discriminated against female athletes in awarding of scholarships.
Before describing what I consider the current law of the fmancial aid land, I thought it would be appropriate to go back and look at some defmitions as they relate to Division III athletics. All of you should have gotten the NCAA Guide to Financial Aid. 1992-93. Some good information is in there that gives you a real sense of how the rest of
the Divisions operate. It also gives some information for Division III that I think is very appropriate. Let me highlight just a few which I feel are important for us to understand what we do and so that we're using common terms.
First, the Academic Honor Award is something which is part of what we can do. To receive an Academic Honor Award, all of us know that the person must have been ranked in the upper 20 percent of the high school graduating class or achieved a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5, or have a minimum SAT score of at least 1,050, or an ACT of 25. If the Academic Honor Award is going to a continuing student. the person must be achieving at a 3.3 level on a 4.0 scale. Academic Honor Awards are possible to be given in Division llI.
An Award of Circumstance is a financial aid based on published objective criteria that is not related to athletics. Any student who meets the criteria automatically gets that award. An Award of Circumstance is something to the effect that if you're in a Lutheran school and every son or daughter of a Lutheran minister gets free tuition at your school, then you can receive an Award of Circumstance. But it must be available to all students that meet that particular set of circumstances. The NCAA must approve such awards in advance.
The Cost of Attendance is an alleges to a full grant-in-aid. The Cost of Attendance at a Division III school is different than a full grant-in-aid in the Division I school. It includes such things as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses related to attendance at your institution. Each institution may come up with differing sets of what you call your "cost of attendance." Sometimes school X will have certain things that somebody else doesn't have and by defmition, that's O.K. in Division Ill.
Honorary Academic Award is a financial award for outstanding academic achievement that is not counted towards individual or institutional limits. To qualify for this exemption, the award must be offered regularly over a period of years and described in your institution's catalog based on academic records earned at your institution and determined during competition among all students in a particular class or college of your institution.
Legitimate Loans is a loan with a regular schedule for repayment that is available to all students and administered on the same basis for all students. Loans of this type, such as Perkins and Stafford Student loans do not have to be counted toward the student-athlete's individual limits of your institution's sport limitatious. Many of us
use loans as part of our total financial aid package, when indeed, sometimes we don't have to. That causes some of the differences in the level of aid awarded by school X and school Y.
Outside Financial Aid is considered to be aid that a student-athlete may receive that is not administered by your institution. Outside aid that is permitted includes aid from the parent or legal guardian, aid awarded without any regard to athletic ability , aid awarded through an established and continuing program based on past performance and overall record and aid awarded through an established and continuing program that recognizes outstanding high school graduates and has established criteria. Athletics participation may be a major criteria in that particular case. If you have a high school booster club that gives somebody a $500 scholarship to apply to your school, they can use that and it can be administered even though somebody does not have any need.
One of the strengths of Division III's financial aid legislation is that it is fairly simple. For those of you who have gone back and tried to read through the Division I regulations, you can certainly generate a headache very quickly. It gets very complex. Simplicity has been the word in Division llI. It doesn't take a Philadelphia lawyer to understand what it is that we have done here and what it is that we are living by.
Again, let me refer to the distributed manual to summarize briefly what it is that we're living under. First of all, federal regulations are the law of the land; NCAA regulations do not supersede them. Your aid office has to live by the federal law and whatever we do with the NCAA is supplemental to that. Student-athletes at Division III schools can receive financial aid only on the basis of their needs, not how much you need them for an athletic team, but whether they need the financial aid. Their aid cannot be related to their athletics ability or reputation and students who are not athletes must have an equal opportunity to receive the aid administered by your schools.
How much financial aid can students receive? Obviously, the cost of attendance and we covered that earlier. What is the effect of aid from outside sources? Any aid that a student-athlete receives from outside sources as defined by the NCAA must be reported to the financial aid office to insure that student-athletes stay within their identified need. If somebody gets an outside scholarship late in the recruitment season, your aid office must be notified, so they can adjust the aid package that is awarded. How does financial need effect Leadership and Merit awards? Some student-athletes may receive leadership and merit awards so long as their financial need is taken into account. Leadership and Merit awards are possible. but they must be considered within the need basis. They can't 1 administered over and above need.
In what cases can student-athletes receive aid without consideration of their identified needs? Legitimate loans, on-campus employment, off-carnpus employment, assistance from the parents, Academic Honor Awards and Awards o Circumstance are all sources of income that can be earned over and above need.
What non-athletics achievement awards can student-athletes receive? Student-athletes can receive these as long as they meet the criteria. The competition for these awards must be among all members of the student body. The awards cannot be related to athletics ability .No quotas for student-athletes may be established. The form that student-athletes use to apply for the awards cannot include reference to athletics ability or participation. The awards must be identified in the institution's publication that lists financial awards available to students and the awards must be consistent with NCAA legislation.
All of your fmancial aid must be administered by your fmancial aid office. You can't do anything in the athletic office to impact on that The financial aid award that is given to the student-athlete must be consistent with the awards given to all of the students at the institution.
Can financial aid funds be set aside for athletics? The answer is, no. You cannot set aside dollars or awards for athletes or athletics in general. Generally, I think these have been well understood by the Division III
membership. Everybody continues to hear stories by coaches that somebody is doing something that they've heard about. Somebody is enhancing the athletic award. They're turning a loan or a job into a scholarship by some outside source of money. whenever I have that question referred to me, I always ask the coach, "Give me the information. Give me the documentation and I'll follow up on it." Nothing ever seems to happen because it's rumor. Student- athletes are smart enough that they sometimes think they can play one school off against another by saying they're getting something which they, indeed, aren't
This brings me to some questions that I want to pose to the group. Are you comfortable with where we are?
Is the trust level that we've generated over the years sufficiently high that we can live with a minimum of regulation? Or, do you want to begin to nibble away at the regulations and try to address particular unique concerns? Do we go back to selective packaging where schools can maneuver and manipulate aid within need? Do we go back to some limited athletic grant-in-aid program? Do we go back and allow Merit and Leadership scholarships over and above need? Those are all questions that we need to talk about, or at least, think about There are many schools in Division III that have suffered through a three- four- or five-year period of having a difficult time filling their classes. Some schools may have violated fmancial aid regulations to keep their schools open. That is a factor of reality , whether we like it or not
Are you comfortable with where we are? That's the question that I pose to you, or do we move in other directions? This would certainly be a time when we could talk about particular ideas, if you have them. If you're comfortable, then we can listen to the band.
Are there any questions for the panel?
TONY LA SCALA:
My biggest concern is whether fmancial aid offices are treating every student the same. We do it in a sense where we have a matrix with all of th~ needs. If your need is this, this is what you get, if your need is that, that is what you get. The biggest complaints I get from coaches is that athletes in some schools are treated differently than the other students in the school. I know the financial aid officers are supposed to sign off that they are in compliance every year, but that seems to be one of the big discrepancies in Division III. Are they really treating every student the same in the institution's programs?
How would you identify that. Nancy? You really can't identify that with the fmancial aid office, can you?
As Bill was talking about earlier in identifying student-athletes, the financial aid office can send lists of student- athletes to the athletics department You ;re right. I hear that a lot and we, at the national office hear that a lot So, you're telling me that we're treating our student-athletes different than the rest of our student body. In some institutions, because of your Division ill financial aid legislation, it may be that your student-athletes are being treated differently than your students. But, that's because of the Division ill fmancial aid legislation that you have adopted. You need to look at this.
You need a role that says as long as we're treating our student-athletes exactly as we're treating our students, then that's all we need to care about. That could be the way you want to go. But currently, because of your legislation, it may be possible that that's the way it happens in some institutions.
DR. WILLIAM MARSHALL:
The questions in many cases are just the reverse. Some schools are treating their student-athletes a little better than the regular students. In other words, it's not a consistent financial aid package all the way across the board for every student in meeting need. I don't know what the answer is other than to go into each school and evaluate. The complaints we get are that X school is giving the athlete more money than they're giving the other student going into that school. I don't know which the answer is.
If it's shown that an institution is consistently providing student-athletes with better financial aid packages than the students, then that's something that needs to be looked at We hear that a lot at the national office and I know a lot of you do.
If you really want to find out what you're doing at your institution, have a compliance review. I had it done a few years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. I found out about all of the things I was doing right and that I was doing some wrong. It's the only way to find out what's going on at your institutions. As Bill says, each institution is different
I want to thank the committee.