Last January, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to give their student-athletes the full cost of attendance stipends as part of a full athletics scholarship beginning Aug. 1, 2015.
What’s a cost of attendance stipend?” Here’s the definition according to the NCAA web page:
In the autonomy conferences, a full scholarship will now include expenses that meet the federal definition of “cost of attendance.” Now, in addition to tuition, fees, books and room and board, the scholarship will also include expenses such as academic-related supplies, transportation and other similar items. The value of those benefits can differ from campus to campus.
Immediately, this caused a stir in the Division I college hockey world. Schools that can afford to; will be able to give their athletes a cost of attendance stipend in addition to their regular scholarships.
This “should” bolster these schools’ recruiting efforts and separate them from the schools that can’t afford to give out the cost of attendance stipends.
Some college hockey pundits have suggested that this could cause a bigger rift between the haves and the have-nots.
Cost of Attendance Stipends = Extra Spending Money
Most Division I athletes (with their sport and studies) don’t have time to work so this extra spending money will come in handy. The students athletes receiving the cost of attendance stipends will be able to spend the money any way that they want to.
On Thursday, the University of North Dakota announced that it will give its men and women’s hockey players cost of attendance stipends. Two National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams have already announced that they will give the cost of attendance stipends. Other NCHC schools are expected to follow suit.
UND has started payments to men’s and women’s hockey players this season, or full amended grant-in-aid scholarships as the school calls them, and will continue examining the feasibility of doing them for all sports.
UND men’s and women’s hockey players on full scholarships will receive $3,400 this season in additional money after the NCAA approved the measure last year. The additional money is set aside to cover costs outside of tuition, fees, books and housing.
If an athlete is on a 90 percent scholarship, he or she will receive 90 percent of the $3,400 and so on.
Depends on the Conference
Who is giving out the cost of attendance stipends? It really depends on the individual conferences. Some college teams will be taking a wait and see approach.
The WCHA is letting their individual schools make the decision on the amount that they want to award their athletes. Bowling Green State and Minnesota State have announced that their schools will be giving the cost of attendance stipend.
Fellow WCHA member, the University of Alaska-Anchorage has said that it’s will not be able to afford to do so at this time.
In Hockey East, Boston College and Notre Dame are offering the cost of attendance stipends and the University of Maine will not.
This is the first year that the cost of attendance stipend is being given out. It’s going to be a while before we know the final number of how many Division I hockey schools are giving out the cost of attendance stipends.
Finally, some have said that allowing schools to give out the cost of attendance stipends will change the college hockey landscape, forever. Allowing schools to give out the cost of attendance stipends could cause a further widening of the gap between the haves and the have-nots. However, the same thing was said about re-alignment three years ago. To date, the jury is still out. It going to take some time before we are able to realize how much of an affect this will have on the college hockey recruiting.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.