Ready, Set, Scholarship! How Athletes Weigh Their College Decisions

3013194880_4d3049b313_z.jpgIt’s no secret that high-performing high school athletes are offered college scholarships as a recruiting tactic, from sports varying from football, to swimming, to volleyball. With most every college student applying for and in need of financial aid, sometimes the scholarship stipend could secure a student’s acceptance, even if the school isn’t his or her top choice.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is now allocating even more financial aid to athletes since 2015, that covers more than just tuition, room, and board–it can now cover the cost of transportation and other university fees. A recent study in the Journal of Sports Economics  outlines these costs, and how athletes are positively swayed to accept the biggest scholarship offered. The article, “Full Cost-of-Attendance Scholarships and College Choice: Evidence From NCAA Football,” co-authored by John C. Bradbury and Joshua Pitts, is free to read for a limited time.

The abstract for their article is below:

In 2015, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I schools were permitted to cover the “full cost of attendance” as a part of athletic scholarships for the first time, which allowed schools to provide modest living stipends to its athletes. Differences in cost-of-attendance allotments across schools have the potential to affect the allocation of talent, with higher stipends attracting better student-athletes. Using recently published cost-of-attendance data, we estimate the impact of cost-of-attendance allowances on college football recruiting. Estimates reveal that cost-of-attendance scholarship allowances were positively associated with football recruiting quality immediately following their implementation, indicating that the modest differences in stipends swayed student-athletes’ college choice.

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Football photo attributed to Jamie Williams (CC). 

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