NCAA Student Athlete Pell Grants

Gao ID: OSI-95-13R January 10, 1995

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Pell Grant Program, focusing on the limitation that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) placed on the amount of Pell grants that college athlete scholarship recipients could receive. GAO noted that: (1) NCAA limited Pell grant awards to $1,700 for Division I recipients with full athletic scholarships; (2) most of the Division I schools that responded to a GAO inquiry said they had reduced their already-awarded athletic scholarships that exceeded the grant limitation; (3) current regulations and policies do not prohibit NCAA Division I schools from making such adjustments, since they cannot reduce the amount of Pell grant awards; (4) for the school year 1991 through 1992, 52 Division I schools saved $668,000 of their scholarship costs, with an average savings of $12,840 per school; and (5) in 1993, NCAA revised the grant limit to $2,400 or the cost of attendance, whichever was less, but some schools retained the $1,700 limitation.

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