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Eligibility As A Graduate Student

May 29, 2013

Can students retain eligibility after graduation?

In general, eligibility is terminated when a student completes all academic requirements for graduation from any four-year institution. The exception to this rule applies only for students who complete academic requirements for graduation from an NAIA institution and return to the same institution for further coursework. If the student has seasons of competition and terms of attendance remaining, the student may compete if he or she enrolls at the same NAIA institution to seek one of the following:

• Additional baccalaureate (or equivalent) degree
• Additional major area of study
• Graduate or professional school
• Fifth-year, post-baccalaureate degree teacher education program

What constitutes “academic requirements”?

A student’s eligibility is not terminated when the student graduates, but rather when the student completes all academic requirements for graduation, as defined by the institution. It’s important to note the inclusion of the word “academic,” which refers to coursework, internships, etc. Institutions often have non-academic requirements for graduation, such as applyication for graduation, completed degree audit, payment of outstanding fees, etc.

A student who has completed all academic requirements for graduation is considered to have terminated his or her eligibility, regardless of whether the student has satisfied all non-academic requirements for graduation.

How is eligibility calculated when using this exception?

Students pursuing additional undergraduate work: 
A student who pursues an additional major or baccalaureate degree will have eligibility calculated in the same manner as all other undergraduate students. The only additional step is that your registrar must provide written notice to the conference eligibility chair that the conditions of the exceptions have been met. Such notice must be provided during the certification process and prior to any competition.

Students pursuing graduate work or fifth-year education program:
A student pursuing graduate work or a fifth-year, post-baccalaureate teacher education program is not necessarily required to be enrolled in 12 institutional credit hours. The student must be enrolled full-time, as defined by the particular program. Written notice of the student’s full-time status and satisfaction of the conditions of the exception must be provided by your registrar to the conference eligibility chair. Such notice must be provided during the certification process and prior to any competition.

For a student’s first term in graduate work or a fifth-year education program, eligibility is calculated in the normal manner, as it is based solely on the student’s undergraduate work.

Should the student have eligibility remaining to compete beyond the first term, the Progress Rule (Article V, Section C, Item 9) and 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement (NAIA Bylaws Article V, Section C, Item 8) are calculated in the normal manner and are not affected by the student’s enrollment in graduate school. However, the 24/36-Hour Rule (Article V, Section C, Item 6) must be calculated differently if full-time enrollment for the first graduate term was less than 12 hours. Instead of being required to have earned 12 hours each term, the student is required to earn the equivalent of full-time coursework for each term. For example, a student earned 12 hours in her final semester of undergraduate work, and nine hours in her first semester of graduate work (nine hours is full-time for her program). For this particular student, she would need to have earned 21 hours in her last two terms to satisfy the 24/36-Hour Rule to compete in her second semester of graduate school. 

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