Each year, Notre Dame’s Athletics Department is responsible for meeting scholarship obligations for more than 320 student-athletes. Currently, just over 18 percent of Notre Dame’s athletic scholarships, also known as grants-in-aid, are endowed.
This percentage puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to peer programs with larger scholarship endowments and places an enormous strain on the operating budget of the Athletics Department, which must fund the remaining grants out-of-pocket. Last year, this amounted to nearly $20 million—the second-highest expenditure in the athletic budget, behind only salaries for coaches and staff. This number will only grow as the costs of scholarships continue to rise on an annual basis.
The campaign therefore seeks to increase the number of endowed grants-in-aid, as well as to build support for expendable scholarship funds—primarily through the Rockne Heritage Fund—that are immediately beneficial. Increasing these endowments will help to preserve Notre Dame Athletics’ role as a major source of revenue for our academic mission, protect our ability to remain independent in football, and ensure that student-athletes in all varsity and Olympic sports are afforded the opportunity to learn and compete at the highest levels.
Typically, an endowed scholarship provides enough funding to cover the full cost of a scholarship for one student-athlete in perpetuity. In time, such an endowment could provide multiple scholarships.
Endowed scholarships create a financial foundation so the University of Notre Dame can provide student-athletes with an unparalleled collegiate experience featuring rigorous academics, spiritual enrichment, community involvement, and a premier athletic environment.