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NAIA Eligibility Requirements: How to Compete at an NAIA Institution

Naia Eligibility Registration

The NAIA is tasked with ensuring student-athletes are academically eligible to compete in their sport at an NAIA member institution. Athletes must also provide the correct documentation to the NAIA to show that they meet these requirements. We’ve listed out the requirements and records students need to provide to the NAIA in order to be academically eligible.

NAIA eligibility requirements for U.S. freshman

Incoming U.S. freshmen need to fulfill and provide documentation for two of the following three criteria:

For more information about how to submit documentation for each of these criteria, visit our NAIA registration page.

The academic requirements for GED students are the same as incoming freshmen, except they cannot use class rank. They must meet both the GPA and test score requirements instead, and the successful completion of the GED immediately fulfills the GPA requirements. GED students should have their ACT or SAT scores sent to the eligibility center directly from the testing service using the NAIA’s code: 9876. They also need to have their official GED information sent to the eligibility center.”

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NAIA eligibility requirements for international freshman

Students who finished high school outside of the U.S. or its territories must meet two of the following three requirements and provide the correct documentation:

While the requirements are the same as incoming U.S. freshmen, how the NAIA calculates them is different and the documentation requirements will vary from country to country. To calculate how the student’s GPA compares to the U.S. system, all international students are required to register for an evaluation through InCred at www.InCredEvals.org. Records submitted to InCred will be used for eligibility evaluation, so students only need to send their records once. The NAIA has compiled the full list of records students need to submit for each country in their International Documents Required by Country guide. For more information about the eligibility process for international student-athletes, review the NAIA’s Guide for International Student-Athletes and our Guide to Athletic Recruiting in the U.S.

*These test score requirements are for any athletes taking standardized tests after May 1, 2019. The test score requirements will be a 16 ACT or an 860 SAT for tests completed between March 1, 2016 and May 1, 2019. The test score requirements will be an 18 ACT or an 860 SAT for tests completed prior to March 1, 2016.

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NAIA eligibility requirements for transfer students

Transfer students from both two-year and four-year universities who have never played on an NAIA team must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center. To be eligible, they must:

Transfers who are still in their first year of college must also provide the NAIA with their ACT or SAT scores, which must be sent directly from the testing centers using code 9876. For more information about transfer student eligibility, visit the NAIA’s page about college transfers.

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NAIA eligibility requirements for homeschooled students

Home schooled students only need to meet the test score requirements and provide the NAIA with their home school transcript. The transcript must include a graduation date and a signature by the home school administrator.. Students who take their standardized tests after May 1, 2019 need to achieve a score of 20 on the ACT or 1040 on the SAT. If the standardized tests were taken between March 1, 2016 and May 1, 2019, a score of an 18 on the ACT or a 950 on the SAT is required. If the standardized tests were taken prior to March 1, 2016, a score of a 20 on the ACT or a 950 on the SAT is required. If they do not meet the test score requirement, they can request a home school waiver from the NAIA Home School Committee, available on their PlayNAIA profile when logged in to www.PlayNAIA.org.

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Why does the NAIA require athletes to fulfill two of three criteria?

Some students aren’t great test takers, some have extremely demanding coursework and other students attend highly competitive high schools, making it difficult to rank in the top 50% of their graduating class. The NAIA created the “two of three” rule to account for student-athletes’ various circumstances and to create a fairer environment for athletes who aren’t strong in one of the three areas.

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How long does it take to become eligible for NAIA?

Once athletes have submitted all the appropriate documents, they are processed and placed under review. It takes about three to seven days for a decision to be made once all required records are received. When an athlete’s documents have been reviewed, their outstanding ‘Current Tasks’ will be moved to ‘Completed Tasks’ on their PlayNAIA profile. International students take closer to two to three weeks to receive a decision of eligible. Clearly, it is important to submit all required records long before your first game to avoid missing playtime.

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