The shortfall represents the difference between educational expenses such as tuition, student fees, room and board and ancillary costs not covered by scholarships, from campus parking fees to calculators and computer disks required for classes.

At some schools, the shortfall can approach or exceed tuition costs. At Arkansas-Little Rock, for instance, the 2009 shortfall is nearly $11,000, said Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA linebacker who now heads the National College Players Association.

“It’s really deceptive to use the words ‘full scholarship,'” he said. “There’s never an explanation for recruited athletes that the price tag for attending school falls short of the scholarship amount.”

The Little Rock school disputed that calcuation, suggesting its gap between athletic scholarships and the actual cost of attendance is closer to $4,100 a year.

College athletes whose academic expenses aren’t fully covered by scholarships are more susceptible to the influence of money-wielding sports agents, Huma suggested. In a recent Sports Illustrated report, a former agent said he paid more than 30 college football players from 1990-96. Seven of the athletes confirmed that account.

“The amounts of money he talked about giving these players falls within the scholarship shortfalls,” Huma said. “These players are putting everything on the line to get a few bucks in order to make ends meet … and to meet their basic necessities.”

“If they were to fully fund scholarships, there would be less temptation.”

A law passed in California earlier this month requires the state’s colleges and universities to disclose more complete information about the actual costs of attendance, as well as details about uncovered medical expenses and policies on scholarship renewal and transferring to other schools.

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