Ivies Force Cornell to Modify Aid for Athletes

January 5, 2010

Cornell University, in the face of opposition from the Ivy League, has stopped including athletes in a financial aid enhancement announced a year ago. Under the program, selected groups of students who qualified for need-based aid and who were particularly desirable to the university -- including some athletes -- had the parental contributions in their aid packages reduced. "While we thought that including student-athletes with demonstrated need among those eligible for enhanced need-based aid awards meets Ivy League standards and practices, the league did not agree," said Simeon Moss, a spokesman for Cornell. The blog MetaEzra reported this week that the Ivy League was investigating the aid policy, apparently for concerns that it violated the Ivy ban on athletic scholarships. But Moss said that there was no investigation because the university has changed its aid rules. He added that Cornell was "committed to achieving competitive equity throughout the Ivy League." Some advocates for Cornell athletics have complained in recent years that because Harvard, Yale and Princeton Universities offer need-based aid to those from families at much higher incomes than can receive such aid at Cornell or other Ivies, those three institutions are effectively offering merit aid.

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