The Athletics Department complies with the standard UMass established policies and procedures for financial aid, which can be found on line at: http://www.umass.edu/umfa/.
General Policy Statement
The Associate AD for Compliance and designated liaison in the Office of Financial Aid Services (Associate Director) share responsibility for monitoring compliance with NCAA financial aid regulations. All athletics aid will be awarded in accordance with NCAA, Conference, and University rules and regulations. No aid for any student-athlete will be awarded, paid, cancelled or altered without approval of the Office of Financial Aid Services and the Department of Athletics. Approval of aid will be contingent upon submission of all appropriate forms by the Department of Athletics, the student-athlete, and/or other agencies as appropriate. Any merit or private scholarships or awards received by a student-athlete must conform to NCAA regulations. Approval of athletics aid will be contingent upon the academic eligibility of the student-athlete.
Determining the Amount of a Full Grant-in-Aid
The athletics grant-in-aid (scholarship) is determined in accordance with NCAA regulations, as well as charges for room, board, tuition and fees for all students at UMass. Tuition and fees are determined by the Board of Trustees, with fees calculated at the average credit load of a full-time undergraduate student at UMass. The value for books is established by Bylaw 188.8.131.52. The athletics grand-in-aid is reviewed in October of each year prior to the National Letter of Intent Early Signing Period. Projections are made for potential increases in any element which may result from Board of Trustees action. After increases have been approved by the Board, traditionally following the spring semester, the grant-in-aid amount is finalized in cooperation with the Office of Financial Aid Services. The Athletic Department retains backup records in addition to the records created by the NCAA Software System for all financial aid awards.
Allocation of Financial Aid Awards
Each varsity sport is provided a specific number of grant-in-aid awards, according to budget allocations and NCAA regulations. Grant-in-aid is allocated to student athletes on the basis of the recommendations of the head coach of the sport and the approval of the Athletic Director. The University’s Office of Financial Aid Services awards grants-in-aid based on these recommendations and gives each student a written contract indicating the amount of aid and the terms and conditions of the grant. Awards are tendered at the appropriate signing dates, which are provided by the NCAA. The Department of Athletics offers two (2) types of financial aid awards. They are:
• Full-Grant-in-Aid--Awards which provide full scholarship for tuition, room, board, fees and loan of books; or
• Partial Grant-in-Aid--Awards which may be any portion of a full scholarship award.
A head-count sport, as designated by the NCAA, calculates financial aid (using the NCAA Software System) by the number of student athletes on the team receiving any amount of aid regardless of the amount or source. UMass calculates head count sports aid totals in accordance with University policy, NCAA and affiliated conferences’ rules and regulations.
Equivalency sports, as designated by the NCAA, calculate athletically related aid by the percentage of full athletically related scholarships awarded to team members. The University may administer such awards to any number of recipients on the basis of value (equivalency), provided the total dollar amount expended does not exceed “commonly accepted educational expenses” at the university multiplied by the number of maximum awards permitted by a particular sport. UMass distributes equivalency sport financial aid in accordance with University policy, NCAA and affiliated conferences’ rules and regulations.
Grants-in-aid are allocated upon the recommendation of the head coach and approved by the Athletic Director or sport administrator. Each head coach is responsible for calculating the number of initial grants-in-aid available and staying within award limitations of the sport. However, the Athletic Compliance Coordinator monitors applications to ensure budgetary and number limitations are not exceeded.
In late April of each academic year, the head coach in each sport recommends scholarship renewals to the Athletic Compliance Office. Scholarship renewal letters are signed by head coaches and distributed to all returning scholarship athletes during end of the year meetings with the head coach. The Office of Financial Aid, if requested by a student athlete, provides non-renewal and reduction-in-aid hearings.
The Compliance Office requires any partial or full scholarship athlete who voluntarily withdraws from a team to complete a form stating their intention. This form provides an opportunity to explain the athletic, financial and other implications of such a decision, as well as providing a record of such a meeting. All aided student athletes who voluntarily withdraw from a team and lose their aid will be given a hearing opportunity as required by NCAA rules. It is up to the student to decide if they wish to have such a hearing. This hearing will be before the same committee that hears all financial aid appeals. No Athletic Department personnel serve on the Appeals Committee.
Scholarship renewal may be denied if the student athlete:
• Fails to meet all established eligibility requirements for University academic standards and/or intercollegiate competition;
• Engages in misconduct resulting in disciplinary action with sufficient grounds for forfeit of athletic grant-in-aid;
• Voluntarily withdraws from participation in a sport for personal reasons;
• Fails to meet Athletic Department and/or team rules governing discipline, training or conduct.
• Fails to comply with the requirements of drug education, testing and rehabilitation program.
• Violates NCAA or affiliated conferences’, University of Massachusetts or Athletic Department rules or regulations.
Student athletes who live off campus are provided a stipend (i.e., cash-in-lieu) for off-campus housing and meals. Excess checks are processed in accordance with NCAA regulations which stipulate that student athletes may receive only an amount that is equal to the official room and board costs for living on campus. The Bursar provides the excess check at the beginning of the semester after the Athletic Compliance Office clears the student athlete’s financial aid award. Under no circumstances should a coach or other athletic administrator call the Bursar's Office to release the check. This could lead to a violation of both NCAA rules and departmental policy. Student athletes need to be aware that this process may take time and to plan their finances accordingly.
Change in Status
If a student athlete becomes injured or ill to the point that participation in intercollegiate athletics is impossible, the Department may petition for a Change-in-Aid Status. This status changes the student athlete from a “counter” to a “non-counter” for equivalency and head count purposes. As such, the student athlete is not counted in the number of financial aid awards allowed under NCAA guidelines. This change in status is non-revocable. The student athlete must still meet academic standards and comply with eligibility rules and regulations to guarantee grant-in-aid renewal. The Associate Athletic Director for Compliance coordinates the petition and, if approved, monitors the student athlete’s eligibility for grant-in-aid renewal.
A student athlete may also voluntarily discontinue participation in a sport at the University. NCAA rules dictate that, at the discretion of the institution, all grant-in-aid may be withdrawn at this time. Discontinuing financial aid to the exiting student athlete is per the review of the Athletic Director and the head coach.
Change in Status Notification to Compliance:
All head coaches are required to make a weekly notification of roster changes to the Compliance Office. This includes changing student athletes from "active" to inactive" for competition. Students who are officially gone from the team, but will be coming back next term are the types of active to inactive transactions coaches must submit to the Compliance Office.
Grants-in-aid do not normally include winter or summer session classes. However, financial aid may be extended to cover courses if attendance is warranted for reasons related to the student athlete’s course of study or to maintain eligibility. Student athletes must have previously received financial aid during the regular year in order to be eligible for financial aid for Winter/summer School. All requests for Winter/summer School must be approved by the Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services. The primary considerations in allotting scholarships are progress toward graduation and academic eligibility.
Criteria for approval of winter/summer school financial aid are:
Student athletes who receive additional scholarship are expected to take at least six (6) hours per term and to attend classes at the University. Aid must be granted in the same proportion as it is granted during the academic year. Per NCAA regulations, financial aid is not provided to attend classes at another institution.
All students who wish to attend summer/winter classes on athletic aid must complete an application and turn it in to the Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services. Once an application has been approved it is forwarded to the Financial Aid Committee for approval. The Financial Aid Committee is comprised of the Associate Director for Student-Athlete Services, SWA, and Associate AD for Compliance Services.
A student athlete, when academically qualified, may be awarded financial aid for a period of time not to exceed five (5) years, provided such aid is awarded within six (6) years after the initial date of enrollment in the University and provided the student is pursuing a full time course of study and making satisfactory progress toward receiving a degree.
Former student athletes who desire such aid must request the aid from the head coach of their varsity sport. A student athlete who is granted such an award is subject to the same University and NCAA rules and regulations as any actively participating student athlete. The post eligibility student is submitted on the NCAA Squad List for the upcoming academic year; however, such individuals are coded as “eligibility exhausted.”
Those student-athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility but have a remaining year in which to receive a baccalaureate degree, must be in good academic standing in a major field of study and have 30 or fewer semester hours remaining for graduation in order to be eligible to receive a post-eligibility scholarship from the NCAA.
The Department encourages all incoming freshman student athletes to file for financial aid, both within their particular state grant program and for federal Pell Grant funds. Any additional funds awarded reduce the University’s scholarship costs. Should a student athlete qualify for non-institutional financial aid that exceeds the maximum scholarship aid allowed by the NCAA, University funds are reduced dollar-for-dollar. The NCAA Manual is to be consulted for outside aid student athletes may receive without reducing University aid (non-countable outside aid).
The Associate AD for Compliance and the Financial Aid Office are responsible for ensuring that all student athlete aid is legitimate and for making any necessary adjustments to athletically related aid according to the NCAA Software System. Student athletes should report any additional outside aid (including employment salary) during the regular academic year. All outside aid received by a student athlete must be reported to the Compliance Office and the Financial Aid Office at the beginning of each academic year.
Compliance Manual >