June 17, 2014 - by

Frequently Asked Questions about The National Letter of Intent & Financial Aid

What is the National Letter of Intent?
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospect’s agreement to attend the institution for one academic year. All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to not recruit a prospective student-athlete once he/she signs an NLI with another college or university. Therefore, a prospective student-athlete who signs an NLI should no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls and is ensured an athletics’ scholarship for one academic year. The NLI must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement. If the student-athlete does not enroll at that institution for a full academic year, he/she may be subject to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement. Please contact the FSU Compliance Office at 850-644-4272 or the NCAA membership services staff at (317) 917-6222 if you have further questions.

What happens if I sign a National Letter of Intent then decide to go to a different college?
If you sign a National Letter of Intent, you are committed to attend that institution for your initial year of collegiate enrollment. If you do not attend the signing institution or attend that institution for less than one academic year, and you enroll in another college that participates in the National Letter of Intent program there may be eligibility ramifications. The basic penalty may preclude you from representing the second college until you have completed two academic years in residence at the latter institution and you may lose two seasons of competition in all sports.

For further information, visit the National Letter of Intent website.

What are the National Letter of Intent signing dates?
They can be found at http://www.national-letter.org/dates.

Can a college or university reduce or cancel my scholarship during the academic year?
If a student-athlete is receiving institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability, that financial aid MAY be reduced or canceled during the period of award (e.g., during that year or term) only if the student-athlete:

  • Renders himself or herself ineligible for intercollegiate competition; or
  • Misrepresents any information on an application, letter of intent or financial aid agreement; or
  • Commits serious misconduct which warrants a substantial disciplinary penalty (the misconduct determination must be made by the university’s regular student disciplinary authority); or
  • Voluntarily quits the sport for personal reasons. In this case, the student-athlete’s financial aid may not be given to another student-athlete during the term in which the aid was reduced or canceled.

Institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability MAY NOT be reduced, canceled or increased during the period of award:

  • Based on a student-athlete’s ability, performance, or contribution to a team’s success; or
  • Because an injury prevents the student-athlete from participating; or
  • For any other athletics reason.

How long does a scholarship last and can the college cancel my scholarship after the first year?
Aid based in any degree on athletics ability cannot be awarded in excess of one academic year; the decision of whether a student-athlete is awarded institutional financial aid is made on a year-by-year or term-by-term basis, depending on the regulations of the institution.

If a student-athlete is receiving institutional financial aid based in any degree on athletics ability, the institution must notify the student in writing on or before July 1 whether the aid has been renewed or not renewed for the next academic year. This written notification comes from the institution’s financial aid authority and not from the athletics department.

If the institution decides not to renew the aid, or is going to reduce the aid, the institution must notify the student-athlete in writing that he or she has the right to a hearing. This hearing is held before the institutional agency making the award.

Keep in mind that the decision to renew or not renew the financial aid is left to the discretion of the institution, to be determined with its normal practices for students generally.

Please contact the FSU Compliance office at 850-644-4272 if you have any further questions. You may also contact the NCAA membership services staff at (317) 917-6222.