AWARDING AND MONITORING OF FINANCIAL AID

General Policy Statement

The Director of Compliance, Assistant AD for Compliance and designated liaison in the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid (Athletics Financial Aid Counselor) share responsibility for monitoring compliance with NCAA financial aid regulations. All athletics aid will be awarded in accordance with NCAA, Conference, and Virginia Tech rules and regulations. No aid for any student-athlete will be awarded, paid, cancelled or altered without approval of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid 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 Virginia Tech. Tuition and fees are determined by the Board of Visitors, with fees calculated at the average credit load of a full-time undergraduate student at Virginia Tech. The value for books is established by Bylaw 15.5.3.2. 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 Visitors action. After increases have been approved by the Board, traditionally during the spring semester, the grant-in-aid amount is finalized in cooperation with the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid.

General Regulations and Procedures
Athletics financial aid will be entered onto a student-athlete's account for the next academic year only after he/she has returned the signed athletics award letter, indicating that the award has been accepted. The approved Athletic Scholarship Authorization (ASA) Form will be used to enter the athletics aid onto the student-athlete's financial records, including any necessary adjustments for books, tuition and/or fees, and for room and board, based upon University decisions.

If changes are made in the amount of athletics aid a student is to receive, the Department of Athletics will notify the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid in writing, detailing reasons for the change (e.g., on-campus student receives permission to move off-campus). The amount of athletics aid for a student-athlete can be increased between the period when the student signs the financial aid award letter and the beginning of the period of the award (the first day of practice or the first day of class for a particular academic term, whichever comes first). Any increase subsequent to that date must be demonstrated as being unrelated to athletics ability.

If a student is awarded subsequent to the first day of class in any given academic term, the amount of the award can be no more than the percentage of a full scholarship to the length of a term (i.e., full scholarship divided by weeks in the academic term, multiplied by weeks remaining equals the maximum amount of scholarship).

Initial Award
In preparation for sending a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to a prospective student-athlete, an Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid is typed in the office of the Assistant Director of Compliance based on information submitted by the respective Head Coach. This form is then forwarded to the Accountant in the Athletic Business Office for confirmation of fund availability, and to the Director of Compliance for review. Once initialed there, the forms are reviewed and initialed by the sport's supervising Associate AD and forwarded to the Director of Athletics (or designee) for final approval. The approved Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid is then taken by the Assistant Director of Compliance to the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid where it is signed by the Athletic Financial Aid Counselor. At this point, the Assistant Director of Compliance returns the form to the respective Head Coach, who is then responsible for seeing that it is mailed out to the prospect, accompanying the authorized NLI.

As soon as possible after the signed NLI and Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid are received by the Athletics Department, the Head Coach must complete and sign an ASA. At this point, all copies of the ASA are submitted to the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid, along with one photocopy of the Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid. After approval by the Athletic Financial Aid Counselor, two copies of the official letter awarding the athletic aid will be sent to the student. The student will be requested to sign and return one copy to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, within two weeks from the date of the letter. Enclosed with the letter will be NCAA, University, and financial aid eligibility statements. The second letter is for the student-athlete's personal records. A copy of the award letter will be sent to the Department of Athletics after it has been signed and returned by the student-athlete.

The Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid maintains a master list of all letters sent out, when each letter was sent to the student, when each signed letter was returned by the student, etc. The master list will be checked on a weekly basis for students who have not returned the Acceptance Letter to the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid. Copies of the list are sent to the Director of Compliance, Athletics Accountant, and the supervising Associate ADs. The Associate ADs will be responsible for contacting the Head Coaches to notify the students on the list to ask that they complete the necessary paperwork. If the student-athlete has taken no action at the end of four weeks from the date of the issuance of the Acceptance Letter, the ASA (and thus the grant-in-aid itself) will be cancelled.

Renewal and Non-Renewal
Prior to the end of February of each year, the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid, in conjunction with the Compliance Office, compiles information including the name, Virginia Tech ID number, and sport of each student-athlete receiving athletics aid. Those student-athletes whose eligibility for athletics aid will expire at the conclusion of the spring semester, as well as those who have less than one academic year of athletics aid eligibility remaining, are designated accordingly.

A sport-specific list/roster containing this information is then sent from the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid to each Head Coach for his/her review. Using this list/roster, the Head Coach identifies any other student-athlete whose aid will not be renewed for the upcoming academic year, and returns the list to the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor. Lists/rosters for fall and winter sports are due no later than March 15. Those for spring sports are due no later than May 1. The Head Coach also uses this list/roster to prepare an ASA for each returning student-athlete who will be recommended for an athletics grant-in-aid for a portion or all of the upcoming academic year.

Procedures for awarding athletics scholarship renewals are similar to that for initial awards, with the following timetable: The ASA is submitted to the Compliance Office and Athletics Business Office for review no later than April 15 (spring sports May 15). All copies of the ASA are submitted to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid no later than May 1 (spring sports June 1). After approval by the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor, the official letter awarding the athletics aid will be sent by the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid in time for the student-athlete to receive it before July 1, per Bylaw 15.3.5.1.

Summer School Aid
The decision to attend summer school is made by each student-athlete in conjunction with his/her academic advisors and coaches. This decision should be made as early in the spring semester as possible. A Summer School Scholarship Application Form must be completed for each student-athlete seeking summer athletics aid. All athletics aid for summer school is subject to the approval of the sport's Supervising Associate AD.

A separate ASA must be submitted for each summer session to be attended. Athletics aid for each summer term will be entered onto the student-athlete's account after the signed Acceptance Letter is returned to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid.

A returning or enrolled student-athlete may receive athletically-related financial aid to attend summer school only if he/she received athletics aid during the previous fall and/or spring. The amount of athletics aid the student-athlete may receive for summer school will be limited to the same aid-to-cost percentage received during the previous fall and spring, per NCAA Bylaw 15.2.8.1.2.

In order to receive financial aid, each student-athlete must be enrolled in a full-time course load for the summer term. In cases where a student-athlete wishes to take less than a full-time summer course load, or wishes to drop below a full-time course load prior to the end of the summer term, written approval must be gained through the use of the Summer Financial Aid Pre-Approval Form for Exception to Full-Time Status. This form is available in the Office of Compliance, and must be signed by the student-athlete and Head Coach, and is subject to the approval of the sport's Supervising Associate AD. Once the form is completed and received in the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid, financial aid for prorated tuition, room, board, and books (if applicable) will be placed on the system and credited to the student-athlete's account.

General Regulations and Procedures
At any time prior to the beginning of the receipt of an athletics aid award (defined as the first day of class or the first provision of room or board during preseason practice, whichever is earlier), the aid may be reduced or cancelled at the discretion of the Head Coach, and with the approval of the sport's supervising Associate AD

Per NCAA Bylaw 15.3.4, athletically-related financial aid shall not be increased, reduced, or canceled during the period of an award:
  • On the basis of the student-athlete's athletic ability or contribution to a team's success;
  • Due to an injury that prevents the student-athlete from participating in athletics; or,
  • For any other athletically-related reason.
Athletics aid may be reduced or cancelled immediately if the student-athlete:
  • Becomes ineligible for intercollegiate competition;
  • Fraudulently misrepresents any information on an application, letter of intent, or official University records;
  • Engages in serious misconduct warranting substantial disciplinary penalty; or,
  • Voluntarily withdraws from a sport for personal reasons.
At any time prior to the beginning of the receipt of the athletics award, the aid may be reduced or cancelled at the discretion of the Head Coach, with the approval of the Supervising Associate AD. For all cases involving a non-renewal, reduction or cancellation, the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor sends the student-athlete a letter informing him/her of the pending change, as well as their right to appeal under NCAA rules. In those cases where a student-athlete voluntarily withdraws from a sport, his/her aid may not be re-awarded to another student-athlete on the team during that term.

Appeal Procedures
Student-athletes wishing to appeal non-renewal, reduction or cancellation of financial aid must submit an appeal in writing to the Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid within 14 days of the date of the letter which informed them of the non-renewal, reduction or cancellation. Upon receipt of an appeal request, the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor immediately notifies the Head Coach, Director of Compliance, Supervising Associate AD, and Director of Athletics. The Department of Athletics is then responsible for submitting documentation to the Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid within 14 days. After reviewing all materials, he/she will provide the student-athlete and the Department of Athletics written notification of the decision.

If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, they may appeal in writing - within 14 days from the date of the Director's letter - to the University Provost. A committee of University personnel appointed by the Provost then hears the appeal, during which, both the student-athlete and representatives of the Department of Athletics may appear in person. After receiving a recommendation from the committee, the Provost will make a determination and notify all parties in writing. The decision at that level is considered final.

Recording of Athletically-Related Aid
As each ASA and Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid is processed in the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid, data regarding each is entered into a spreadsheet developed specifically to track the financial aid of student-athletes. These spreadsheets are sorted by sport, and are updated constantly, providing an accurate, timely compilation of the financial aid received by each student-athlete. Addendums are created whenever a change occurs in a student-athlete's financial aid. Copies of these spreadsheets and addendums are provided to the Compliance Office immediately upon completion.

Additionally, as each ASA and Offer of Athletic Grant-in-Aid is processed in the Department of Athletics, the Accountant in the Athletics Business Office compiles the information on lists sorted alphabetically and by team. These lists are also updated constantly, and yield information which is used for budgeting purposes as well as a double-check for all University athletics aid figures. Copies of the lists are distributed to both the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid and the Compliance Office.

Determination of Counter Status and Countable Aid
The Athletics Financial Aid Counselor will work in concert with the Director of Compliance to determine whether each student-athlete is to be classified as a counter according to NCAA Bylaw 15.5.1. For those student-athletes receiving institutional aid but no athletically-related aid, and therefore are exempted from counter status per Bylaw 15.5.1.1, 15.5.1.2 or 15.5.1.2.2, the appropriate form must be completed and signed by the Faculty Athletics Representative, the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor and the Director of Compliance. Copies of the completed forms are placed in the student-athlete's files in both the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid and the Department of Athletics.

The Athletics Financial Aid Counselor and the Director of Compliance will identify all financial aid being received by student-athletes as countable or non-countable, according to NCAA Bylaws 15.02 and 15.5. Substantiating documentation, when necessary, for non-countable aid will be kept on file in both the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid and in the Compliance Office.

Completion of the NCAA Squad Lists
In addition to tracking athletics aid, the spreadsheet utilized by the Office of University Scholarships & Financial Aid provides a total picture of each student-athlete's financial aid situation, including grants, loans and work-study information. This data is entered directly onto the NCAA Squad List by the Director of Compliance, and updated as addendums are received. These Squad Lists are compiled and kept in the Compliance Office. Copies are distributed to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, the Athletics Business Office, and the Head Coach of the respective sport.

The Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid will maintain a list of student-athletes who are Pell Grant recipients, and will provide this list to the Compliance Office, updating it periodically. A student-athlete (foreign or domestic) who does not qualify for a Pell Grant may also be eligible to participate in the program, if he/she has financial need beyond the value of a full grant-in-aid, as demonstrated by a needs analysis conducted according to Federal methodology.

In order to receive reimbursement under this program, a qualifying student-athlete must:
  • Submit paid receipts or outstanding bills to the Compliance Office, where the appropriate administrator will determine if the expense meets the criteria established by the NCAA for this fund; and,
  • Complete the conference's NCAA Special Assistance Fund Application Form, available in the Compliance Office, attaching all relevant receipts/bills.
The form is then sent to the Athletics Financial Aid Counselor for verification of eligibility, where it is signed and returned to the Department of Athletics. The Department of Athletics submits the form to the Conference Office, which will then issue a check to cover the student-athlete's expense.

Intent and Principles
The Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund is intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes or their families as determined by conference offices. As a guiding principle, the fund shall be used to assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics, enrollment in an academic curriculum or that recognize academic achievement. Accordingly, receipt of Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund monies shall not be included in determining the permissible amount of financial aid that a member institution may award to a student-athlete.

Eligibility for the Fund
All student-athletes, including international students, are eligible to receive SAOF benefits, regardless of whether they are grant-in-aid recipients, have demonstrated need or have either exhausted eligibility or no longer participate due to medical reasons. Additionally, student-athletes receiving monies from the Special Assistance Fund may also receive SAOF benefits.

The responsibility for oversight and administration of the fund, including interpretations, rests solely with the conferences.