The Athletic Department is donating $1.5 million to a need-based financial aid program that supports students who are Michigan residents.

In 2008, the University will put some of the revenue from newly signed media contracts towards M-PACT – a program created in 2005 that aims to alleviate the need of Michigan students to take out loans by increasing the amount of grant funding they receive.

The donation is a portion of profits earned from contracts with television networks that, starting in August, will air the newly created Big Ten Channel, a station dedicated to broadcasting Big Ten sports.

Jason Winters, the Athletic Department’s chief financial officer, said this is the first time the department has donated to the University’s financial aid programs.

“Our budget is $14 million for student-athlete financial aid, a

large part of which is tuition and housing to the University,” he said in an email. “To my knowledge, we have never spent funds on financial aid programs outside of athletics.”

The $1.5 million is a portion of the total $7 million revenue produced by the Big Ten media contracts. Winters said University President Mary Sue Coleman and Athletic Director Bill Martin had spoken about how to allocate the revenue from the contracts.

“They decided to give some of the revenue to the financial aid program this year because they knew there was extra money available,” Winters said.

He said the remaining revenue will go toward the Athletic Department’s general resources fund.

“No decisions about the rest of the revenue have been made yet so that we have some financial flexibility,” he said.

Winters said the department will also make a donation of the same amount next year.

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