Outreach and Community Service

The Degree Completion Program (DCP) was a foundational program that helped establish the NCAS/ISSJ as an organization that advocated for and supported student-athlete degree completion.  In the early 2000's, DCP unofficially became inactive due to individual athletic programs adopting their own version of DCP.  In essence, DCP is the blueprint for student-athlete degree completion programs across the country.

During the active years, nationally, student-athletes at ISSJ institutions worked with over 19.6 million students in school outreach and community service programs. Collectively, these student-athletes donated more than 30.5 million hours of service while ISSJ member institutions donated more than $300 million in tuition assistance. The ISSJ is collectively the nation’s largest and most highly recognized outreach and community service program using student-athletes to reach children.  More than 95 percent of ISSJ programs directly benefited children.

Student-Athlete Requirements/Expectations

Student-athletes who attended ISSJ member institutions on an athletic scholarship in the 10 years prior to the institution joining the ISSJ are eligible to be re-admitted, if academically eligible. Student-athletes are able to continue their education as long as they are making progress toward their degree. In exchange for tuition, student-athletes volunteer a minimum of ten hours per week in the school’s community service and outreach programs.

Member School Requirements/Expectations

ISSJ member institutions agree to assist former student-athletes obtain their degrees through tuition assistance. Tuition is provided by the institution in the same proportion as it was during the student’s last year of eligibility.

If an ISSJ institutional member’s former student-athlete wants to attend an ISSJ member school in another geographic location, member schools agree to help those former student-athletes transfer credits. In return, ISSJ institutional members will aid in facilitating the receipt of transfer credits of student-athletes from other ISSJ member schools.

ISSJ members are not obliged to pay the cost of their students who attend other member schools. Likewise, they are not obliged to pay for former student-athletes from other ISSJ schools to come to their institution. However, members do agree to attempt to reduce or eliminate barriers that exist between student-athletes and degree completion or other educational goals. Assistance should include academic advisement, academic advocacy, and, when necessary, negotiating on behalf of student-athletes with their former colleges and universities. Furthermore, assistance should be consistent with institutional policies, in the form of the assurance of affordability of higher education for student-athletes via loans, work-study programs, grants, and other forms of financial assistance available to all students.

The NCAA has approved aid beyond the fifth year for student-athletes at ISSJ member institutions. The ten hours per week is valued by the NCAA at a higher per hour rate than normally afforded former student-athletes in a university job, based on the fair market value of public speaking/appearance fees.

Quick Facts

  • Since 1988, more than 33,900 student-athletes have returned to ISSJ member institutions to complete their degrees
  • 461 Olympians have returned to ISSJ member institutions to complete their degrees
  • 9,844 professional athletes have returned to ISSJ member institutions to complete their degrees
  • Over 15,000 student-athletes have graduated from ISSJ institutions since 2011
  • Student-athletes have donated more than 30.5 million hours of outreach and community service
  • More than $300 million in tuition assistance has been donated by ISSJ member institutions
  • More than 95 percent of Institute SSJ programs directly benefit children