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NCAA awards AASP Grants to nine schools

Funding will support academic programs to help student-athletes graduate

The NCAA has awarded more than $4 million in grants to nine Division I schools to support academic programs that help student-athletes earn their degrees.

The recipients of the Accelerating Academic Success Program Comprehensive Grants (multi-year) include: Alcorn State University ($900,000), California State University, Bakersfield ($870,686), Hampton University ($675,000), Florida A&M University ($675,000) Delaware State University ($449,850) and North Carolina A&T State University ($277,284.38).

Recipients of Accelerated Academic Success Program Initiatives Grants (single year) include:  California State University, Northridge ($100,000), Idaho State University ($8,333.33) and Texas Southern University ($80,608).

The grants help schools improve the academic success of their student-athletes.  The goal is to support the school’s efforts to 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 comprehensive 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.

“We want to make sure we address the critical issues we’re facing, and the Academic Progress Rate is one of those,” said Alcorn State University Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Jason Cable. “We’re focused on degree completion, and we have a program where former student-athletes can come back and receive funds to complete their degree. While doing so, they must mentor a current student-athlete. We also plan to increase staffing. Our student-athlete-to-counselor ratio is around 100:1. We want to make that more sustainable.”

California State University, Bakersfield Interim Athletics Director Ziggy Siegfried said some of the grant funds his department receives will focus on facility enhancement.

"The current space we have is nice, but it is too small for our student-athletes," Siegfried said. "We couldn't conduct study halls there or enough tutoring. We've outgrown that facility and the square footage is going from 2,200 square feet to 7,000-plus square feet. There is an existing building that we'll be able to move into. This will give our student-athletes more space."

The announced awards mark the third round of Accelerating Academic Success Program funding distributed by the NCAA.