Publication Date

Fall 2017

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


Student athletes, Athletic financial aid


In January 2015, the Power Five Conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) passed a new policy to change the procedure by which the amount of athletic financial aid is calculated and provided to student athletes (Sherman, 2015). Policy 15.02.2 of the NCAA Regulation Handbook states that institutions can provide athletic financial aid based on the cost of attendance rather than the cost of living (National Colligate Athletic Association, 2017). The previous policy allowed for institutions to provide cost of living aid, including total cost of tuition, books, supplies, and meals (National Colligate Athletic Association, 2012). The new ruling adds transportation, childcare, disability costs, and miscellaneous personal expenses in the calculations when figuring the total amount of athletic financial aid to be provided to student athletes (National Colligate Athletic Association, 2017). University financial aid offices are responsible for calculating the full cost of an athlete’s attendance (New, 2015). This allows each institution to interpret the policy and decide how much financial aid to provide to the student athletes.

San Jose State University’s (SJSU) Athletic Department implemented Policy 15.02.2 for the 2015/2016 academic year using funding from the university. This initial funding was provided as a one-time allotment, with subsequent monies for full cost of attendance being the responsibility of the Athletic Department (Murray, 2015). San Jose State Athletics has been responsible for funding cost of attendance following the one-time allotment (Poch, 2017). With a limited athletics budget, does offering cost of attendance packages to student athletes benefit the university through improved athletic performance and more winning games or events? Does the higher cost-of-attendance financial support promote financial fairness and just compensation to the student athletes receiving this aid? Does the university receive any downstream deliverable benefits that justify the increased cost, such as increased freshman enrollments following a winning season, or increased donations to the Spartan Foundation and the Athletic Department to support the increased cost of athletics?