Post #11 — 11/26/20 — ivy Financial aid – understanding the process part-III, ncaa covid update

Before getting into our post for the day, we want to take a moment and wish all of our Women’s College Hockey Pipeline readers in the U.S. a very special and happy Thanksgiving. There have been thousands of you reading and watching our content. It’s exciting to see all of you take an interest in our program. A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you no matter where you are.


  • Affordability/Financial Aid – Understanding The IVY Process – Part III
  • NCAA/COVID Update

Affordability/Financial Aid – Understanding the Process…

It’s no secret an Ivy education isn’t cheap. The average cost of attendance among Ivy schools that have hockey programs for the 20-21 academic year is around $78,000. In this post we’ll review how an Ivy education becomes affordable, lay out the financial aid process families can expect go through, and explain why an Ivy League education may be less expensive than a school who offers you a scholarship. In future posts, we’ll tackle the financial process for scholarship schools as well as non-scholarship schools that are not in the Ivy League.

Understanding Affordability

By its own rules, Ivy league institutions don’t offer athletic scholarships. So to help students offset the high cost of attending an Ivy, institutions offer what are called ‘need-based’ financial aid packages to qualifying students. Students qualify based on financial need which is determined by a review of the family’s financial situation. These packages are made up of three areas:

Cost of Attendance includes tuition, room, board (meal plan), books, sometimes travel, and personal expense costs.

Gift Aid includes any money the institution, any governmental or external financial awards. Gift aid in most cases does not need to be paid back. It’s not a loan.

Estimated Net Cost is the amount a student and family is expected to contribute towards the cost of the student’s education.

How much $ do students receive in financial aid? It varies. Financial Aid packages are evaluated on the family’s need and personal financial situation. Think of it as the more income a family makes usually = less financial aid given. Less income = more financial aid.

How how do schools help make things affordable? For starters, those who qualify for financial aid usually receive some amount of money from the institution, which is the main component of the gift aid portion of the package. I am sure many of you are asking, well I make xyz a year, what could I potentially qualify for? That’s a bit harder to determine as each of the Ivy’s calculate awards slightly differently. Theoretically, based on Ivy League financial aid rules, one package shouldn’t really vary much, but sometimes they do. As an example, some schools take into account how much equity you might have in your home… and other do not. But most school are very generous with packages for students who can get in and would attend. Some schools in fact will offer the chance to go to an Ivy virtually free a few thousand dollars per year if your income is at a certain amount. To find out how much you may qualify for at a particular school, best to visit the financial aid website and look for statistics on the percentage of students who qualify for aid and at what income levels those %’s exist at.

Ivy League schools typically evaluate yearly income and normal family assets such as the equity in your home, college savings plan accounts, student savings, stock investments, etc. to determine what’s called the ‘Expected Family Contribution’, a percentage of income the financial aid office feels parents and students should pay toward their child’s education. Some may think, well my daughter is bright and should get a lot of ‘academic’ money. Not so. Unfortunately, there no academic scholarship awards offered at any Ivy League School. The Ivies attract the best and brightest in the world – everyone is wicked smart. Players are welcome to apply for scholarships in their local community to help defray costs provided they are not based on athletic ability and are cleared by the institutions NCAA compliance department.

The Athlete Financial Aid Process

Knowing how much it may cost to attend an Ivy League school is needless to say, important. Once NCAA rules allow, most coaches will broach the subject of affordability with recruits and their parents as they try and answer the ‘can you afford my school’ question. And most coaches would agree it’s best to answer that as early in the process as they can so as to not waste anyone’s time. Bottom line, a school could want you to come and you could want to make a commitment, but if it’s not affordable–it just won’t work. And if it doesn’t work, that’s okay.

So how early can you know costs? U.S. families can get a really good ballpark estimate by using one of the cost estimator calculators found on most of the school’s Financial Aid websites. International recruits could have a tougher time using those calculators because some may not take into account an international physical address. International families could contact a financial aid officer and get direction on how to estimate costs.

Much like Ivies have a ‘pre-academic read’ process, the same holds true for Financial Aid. These reads can begin in the recruits’ grade 11 year, usually after Jan. 1st. This can sometimes be a bit of a selective process as there are only so many requests athletic departments can produce under Ivy League rules. Not every recruit a program has an intterest in will get one. The process usually entails some type of direct communication with that institutions F-A office requesting tax and other financial documents to assess the family financial situation. Once a package has been returned, you’ll know the costs to the penny.

Better Than A scholarship?

In some cases, yes–an Ivy financial aid offer could be more attractive than a partial scholarship. Simple math can get will get you down to net costs. Say you’re offered a 50% scholarship where tuition, room, board, and some fees are covered for two years. That means have to pay out-of-pocket for two more years to graduate. If it costs $50K per year to attend that’s $100K you have to come up with. If you go by the average cost to attend an Ivy today at close to $78K and subtract the average F-A award package of around $55K… do the math and you’re paying out of pocket $92K over four years – for an IVY education.

We find there is a BIG misconception out there that an Ivy education isn’t affordable. Most think you have to have oodles of $ to make it work. The reality is that just isn’t the case in most instances. No doubt there are those who won’t qualify for F-A and wind up paying the full-freight and are happy to do so knowing the value of the education they’ll receive. Most Ivy’s are committed to making it affordable for those who can get in.


College Hockey America is the latest conference to announce scheduling plans for the 20-21 season. You can read the official press release HERE. RIT will travel to play Syracuse on Friday. RIT had originally cancelled its season weeks ago but reversed its decision upon the state of New York approving COVID-19 protocols.

Hockey East had 2 more teams suspend hockey activities in the last 48-hours. On Tuesday Northeastern followed Vermont’s lead in pausing all athletic activities in five sports, including women’s and men’ hockey until Dec. 18th. This was due to a small cluster of positive cases among athletes. You can read the story HERE.

Also on Tuesday the University of Maine announced it would pause all hockey activity until Dec. 8th after positive cases among varsity athletes. It was not known if any of the positive cases were within the women’s or men’s hockey programs. You can read the story HERE.

Until next time… be well and stay safe!

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