Financial Aid Woes: Kalamazoo College student-athletes face tough decision

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Some Kalamazoo College student athletes are facing a tough decision between playing sports and their financial aid.

The issue started last fall when an NCAA investigation found that the school was providing financial aid to athletes incorrectly. The school was admitting students based on extracurricular activities, like volunteer work, school activities and athletics in addition to academic record.  They were also using the same criteria for distributing financial aid.  The NCAA says that giving financial aid based in prior athletic participation is a violation of Division III policy.

“The most recent interpretation we got was: you may not put on the field or on the courts athletes with ineligible aid without facing penalties," said Associate Vice President of MArketing and Communications Kate Worster,  "It’s against the NCAA rules.”

The school has since adjusted their policy ever since being notified by the NCAA, but there were still some students who had received financial aid under the old policy.  Those students are now juniors and seniors at the school.

“What we have the option to do now is re-calibrate the financial aid of all of our active student athletes in an NCAA compliant manner," said Worster. "So that’s what we’re doing.”

The school has been forced to make a decision: re-evaluate those student's financial aid packages or leave them the same. The students are presented with the new package, and can choose to accept it and continue playing, or stick with their unsanctioned package and be barred from competition. Some students face a loss of $12,000 under the new restructuring.

The NCAA handed down a three year probationary period and a ban on post-season play until the situation is sorted out - something Kalamazoo College is appealing.

The NCAA has not yet ruled on the appeal.


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