NAIA Financial Aid


Flexibility, transparency in financial aid provide cutting edge

The NAIA is focused on serving its membership through common-sense regulations where financial aid, eligibility and competition rules are fair, flexible and less burdensome to administer, and institutions have the autonomy to administer athletics as they see fit.

At NAIA schools, key admissions recruiters come from the athletics department. They have the tools to attract high-quality student-athletes and retain them. A key benefit to enrollment management in the NAIA is flexible and transparent rules for financial aid. As a member of the NAIA, an institution can:

  • Use athletic aid as a recruiting tool. NAIA rules allow the institution to label aid by any name that benefits the institution, be it leadership, academics, or athletics.
  • Compete on a level playing field. All institutional aid is countable aid by NAIA rules. NAIA members are subject to a maximum financial aid limit, allowing schools to be competitive at a reasonable cost.
  • Take advantage of institutional autonomy to determine the amount of financial aid awarded to students that participate in athletics. From $0 to the sport limit, the NAIA has limited requirements for the institution to award aid to student-athletes.
  • Optimize the school’s Return on Athletics®. NAIA members drive enrollment through athletics with many utilizing junior varsity and developmental programs to improve the bottom line.

When it comes to financial aid, spread it around the team, stack athletic aid with other aid, and reward successful student-athletes. The institution makes the final decision.

Learn about financial aid at the NAIA and how it can help your institution.
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How does financial aid influence retention?

Cost of attendance (COA) discounts are important for student-athletes given the rising costs associated with higher education. How do COA discount rates for men’s and women’s sports at your institution compare to the average NAIA institution? Do you notice a connection between COA discount rate and retention rate for the sport teams at your institution?

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Moving from NCAA to NAIA

Louisiana Christian University experiences decreasing discount rates

“Moving from NCAA DIII to NAIA has had a significant impact on our enrollment. Our discount rate – which normally hovered between 40-42% which is below the national average for private colleges – right now our discount rate is running at 32%.

Rick Brewer, Ph.D.
President, Louisiana Christian University