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Athletes and Parents: Find the Right Financial Fit

Student-athlete scholarships and tuition assistance play a large role in college selection.

Richard Pound

April 21, 2009

Athletes and Parents: Find the Right Financial Fit

The U.S. economy is, as we all know, on shaky ground.

With demands so high and resources often scarce, we often find ourselves torn between the proverbial rock and hard place when it comes to decisions about the best interests of our families and ourselves. When will things begin to turn around? In the longer term, will parents have enough set aside for their retirement? And in the shorter term, how will we ever pay for fast-approaching college needs? This dilemma applies just as keenly to the gifted student-athlete as it does to the rest of the student body.

So allow me to provide you with some strategies to reduce your total costs and get the finest education for the least amount of money.

Tuition Assistance

So you've won (or your child has won) a student-athlete scholarship or other tuition assistance. First, without knowing all the features and benefits offered in a tuition assistance package, how can you know if you're getting the best possible education for the money?

Recently, I spoke with a student-athlete preparing to sign her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play lacrosse. The letter stated that her scholarship included “course-related books.”

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So I immediately asked, “Does 'course-related books' mean only books in her major? Is there a cap on the total cost provided for books? Is this a per-semester or per-year allocation? What happens if she opts for summer school; are these books covered? All of these questions need to be answered before the NLI is signed; it is critically important that you know and understand each line in your Financial Aid Award Notice.

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