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NCAA Division I Degree Completion Award Program

The NCAA Division I Degree Completion Award Program was established in 1989 to assist student-athletes who could not complete their education during their five-year eligibility period. To be eligible to apply for the program, a student-athlete must have competed at an NCAA Division I institution, have received athletics-related financial aid, and be within 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of completion of his or her degree. To date, the program has awarded over $30 million to over 2,900 deserving student-athletes and 90 percent of the award recipients have successfully completed their undergraduate degrees.

Requirements for the Award

The applicant must be a student-athlete who:

  • Completed eligibility at an NCAA Division I member institution.
  • Must be within 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of completion of his/her first undergraduate degree. Students enrolled in programs that extend beyond the baccalaureate degree or enrolled in graduate programs are not eligible (e.g. PharmD).
  • Must have received athletics-related financial aid.
  • Must be entering at least his/her sixth year of post-secondary education, and shall have exhausted institutional eligibility (five years) for competition.

The award will consist of tuition, fees, and an allowance for textbooks and expenses.

How to Apply

The following materials are required to complete the application process.

  1. Nominations can be initiated by the FAR, Athletics Director, SWA or other designee.
  2. The nominee must include a personal statement that includes the following information:
    • Why you need this award;
    • Any unusual financial circumstances that could affect your ability to enroll;
    • Any unusual circumstances that may have affected or will affect your ability to complete your degree;
    • How do you plan to use your degree.
  3. List of extracurricular activities, leadership roles, academic honors and awards.
  4. List of athletic participation and athletic honors and awards.
  5. Academic information from the dean of the college, faculty advisor or head of the department responsible for the applicant’s academic program.
  6. Financial aid information from the financial aid office.
  7. Endorsement(s) from the director of athletics, senior woman administrator, faculty athletics representative or coach at the Division I institution.
  8. An official transcript from the institution where the student-athlete exhausted his or her athletics eligibility must be included. Applications must also include official transcripts from all institutions the student-athlete previously attended. Official transcripts can be scanned and uploaded to the system as a .pdf document.

Applications are accepted beginning in March for the fall term and beginning in August for the spring/summer term. The next application will be for the for the 2020 Winter/Spring/Summer award. That application will open beginning August 1, 2019.

Selection Process

Applications are reviewed by a NCAA Division I Degree Completion Award committee composed of the representatives from seven Division I member institutions and are from varying positions, such as directors of athletics, financial aid administrators, faculty athletics representatives and others.

Click here to contact the NCAA regarding the program.

Student-Athlete Degree Completion Assistance

In August 2018, Board adopted legislation to require schools to provide degree completion funding to former men’s and women’s basketball players. The Board established a fund for limited resource institutions to fund degree completion.  These actions came at the recommendation of the Commission on College Basketball.

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