Transfer Student Eligibility Requirements

Transfer Student Checklist

Use this Student Checklist to guide you through the steps needed to receive a decision.  

Use this Release of Information Form if a previous institution requires your authorization to release information in the eligibility process and this Athletic Tracer Form if athletic history information is needed from a previous institution. 

Who is a transfer student in the NAIA?

If you enroll in 12 hours and attend any regularly scheduled class at a two- or four-year college and then decide to transfer to any NAIA school, the NAIA considers you a transfer student, regardless whether you participated in intercollegiate athletics.


Do transfer students need to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center?

If you are a transfer student and have never played previously in the NAIA, you are required to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center. You'll need the following to complete the process as a transfer:

  • Personal contact information
  • All competitive experiences - both collegiate and non-collegiate - since high school graduation
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended two- or four-year institutions
  • High school transcripts and test scores (if you are still in your first year of college)
  • Proof of your high school graduation date (if included on your official college transcript, this is acceptable; otherwise, official documentation sent by your high school is required)
  • Provide your Eligibility Center ID # to your coach to be added to their Short List; you must be added to a school's Short List to receive a decision


Transfer Student Rules

Residency Rules

NAIA residency requirements govern how soon a transfer can play and depend on whether you're transferring from a four-year or two-year college.

If you participated in an intercollegiate contest in your sport at a four-year school, you must wait 16 weeks before participating in that sport unless you

  • Have a written release from the athletic department at immediately previous four-year college
  • Have a minimum 2.0 GPA from all previous institutions combined
  • Meet all additional academic requirements and any conference-specific requirements for transfers

A student transferring from a two-year school has no residency requirement. If, however, you have participated at four-year college prior to attending a two-year school, you must have a written release from the athletic department of the four-year institution.

24/36 Hour Rule

Transfer students are required to have completed 24 semester/36 quarter hours of institutional credit in their last two full-time semesters/three quarters of enrollment prior to transferring.

Progress Rule

If you're a transfer student who has already used one or more of your four seasons of competition, you will need to show completion of the following before you can compete:

  • Second season: 24 semester/36 quarter institutional credit hours
  • Third season: 48 semester/72 quarter institutional credit hours
  • Fourth season: 72 semester/108 quarter institutional credit hours (including 48 semester/72 quarter hours in general education or your major field of study)

GPA Rule

Transfer students are required to have 2.0 cumulative college GPA if they have junior academic standing or have been charged 2 or more seasons of competition. The GPA is calculated from all college coursework previously completed.

Seasons of Competition

Students are charged seasons for competing at the collegiate level or for any elite outside competition that takes place a year after high school graduation in a year when you're not participating in college sports. NAIA students are allowed a maximum of 4 seasons of competition in a single sport.

Check out NAIA schools

The NAIA has hundreds of campuses in the U.S. and Canada. Find one that's right for you.

Attend a Showcase

NAIA Showcase events are one-day, one-stop recruiting opportunities to showcase your skills in front of NAIA coaches.

NAIA Eligibility Center

Register today to determine if you're eligible to play in the NAIA.