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NCAA awards AASP grants to four schools

Funding will support academic programs that help student-athletes graduate

The NCAA has awarded more than $3.1 million in grants to four Division I schools to support academic programs that help student-athletes earn their degrees.

The recipients of the Accelerating Academic Success Program grants include: Mississippi Valley State University ($900,000); Northwestern State University ($780,000), Utah Valley University ($781,443) and North Carolina Central University ($694,338).

The grants help schools meet the requirements of the Division I Academic Performance Program, which was developed to ensure schools provide an environment that supports education while enhancing the ability of student-athletes to earn a degree.

Schools eligible to apply for the program are non-FBS Division I schools in the bottom 10 percent of resources as determined by per capita institutional expenditures, athletics department funding and Pell Grant aid.

“The NCAA remains committed to the academic success of all student-athletes,” said NCAA Executive Vice President Bernard Franklin. “These AASP grants allow the association to offer financial backing for projects that contribute measurable benefits to our campuses.”

The grants will be distributed over a three-year period and used to fund increased academic support services staffing and space; technology upgrades (software and hardware); career planning; professional development; and increased availability of summer financial aid for student-athletes.

Schools can request a maximum of $300,000 per year for three years.  The participating schools are required to match grant dollars each year of the program, with either direct funds and/or in-kind contributions. In the first year the school must commit a 25 percent match, 50 percent in year two and 75 percent in year three.

The announced awards mark the second round of AASP funding distributed by the NCAA. The inaugural pilot program distributed $4.3 million to six chosen schools: California State University, Northridge ($900,000), Coppin State University ($900,000), Jackson State University ($900,000), Tennessee State University ($900,000), Morehead State University ($360,000) and Norfolk State University ($330,000).

The NCAA also offers single-year grants through the AASP program. More than $900,000 was awarded to 21 qualifying schools for the 2014-15 academic year. Grants for 2014-15 ranged from $20,000 to $80,000, but the single-year funds will increase in 2015-16 to a maximum of $100,000.