Uncapped Student Athlete Education-Related Benefits' Impact on Federal Student Aid

"In the wake of NCAA v. Alston, a student-athlete’s education-related benefits may impact the amount of Federal Student Aid the student-athlete receives," JD Supra reports. 

..."ED’s regulations and official subregulatory guidance do not directly address the treatment of education-related benefits as EFA. According to one report, in unofficial guidance to the Atlantic Coast Conference, one ED official wrote: 'Any source of assistance a student receives as the result of his or her status as a student is considered [EFA].' This is consistent with prior ED guidance, which says, 'For example, athletically related scholarships, academic or graduation incentive awards, as well as complimentary room and board given to athletes, must be counted as EFA in packaging a student for Title IV assistance.' The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has provided advice on how financial aid offices should treat education-related benefits:

'[F]or college athletes whose only source of [FSA] was from Pell Grants, institutional athletic aid did not need to be reduced in circumstances where the total assistance exceeded the cost of attendance. By this determination, schools would not need to offset any new Alston monies to their athletes. '

NASFAA explained that ED has generally accepted that students are entitled to federal Pell Grants, regardless of other aid; that is, schools do not control the amount of Pell Grant funds awarded. However, as NASFAA also acknowledges, there seems to be an 'open question about partial scholarship players, who receive other forms of [FSA] besides Pell Grants, and whose aid with Alston benefits may now exceed their COA.' The question is: must schools reduce those student-athletes’ other FSA if receiving education-related benefits mean that the student-athletes’ total aid awards exceed their COA?"

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Publication Date: 1/24/2022

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