New Legislation: Mid-Year Eligibility Opportunity
Legislative Services is going to spend the next few months writing briefs on the new legislation that was passed at the 2019 convention. You can find all of the changes in one spot here. Our first three briefs were on the significant changes to the financial aid bylaw and you can find all three parts here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This week we are going to address the changes to Article V, Section C, Item 5, specifically what is being called the “Mid-Year Eligibility Opportunity.” The entire bylaw with the new amendments is below for your convenience.
SUBJECT: Initial Eligbility
The student An entering freshman who satisfies initial eligibility requirements in Bylaws Article V, Section
C, Item 2 must have accumulated a minimum of nine institutional credit hours prior to identification for the second term of attendance.
Only those institutional credit hours earned after identification (at any institution) may be applied toward meeting the Nine-Hour Rule for a second-term freshman.
b. An entering freshman who satisfies one of the initial eligibility requirements found in Bylaws Article V, Section C, Item 2 can gain eligibility in a subsequent term if the student passed 12 institutional credit hours with a grade of “C” or better during the first term of attendance at the certifying NAIA institution.
For purposes of this rule, the NAIA does not recognize a +/- attached to a letter grade. Consequently, a C+, C, and C- shall count as a C.
Article V, Section C, Item 5
Item 5, Part b, is brand new language that was approved by the membership at the 2019 NAIA National Convention. It went into effect on May 1, 2019, and thus is “live” right now. Prior to this change, if a student didn’t meet two out of the three initial eligibility requirements then they would have to be identified for two full time terms before they could become eligible. This new language allows for a student to potentially become eligible after one term of attendance. To utilize the mid-year eligibility opportunity a student must do two things. First, they must have met one of the three initial eligibility requirements (GPA, class rank, or ACT/SAT test score). Second, they must pass 12 institutional credit hours with a grade of “C” or better during their first term of attendance at the certifying NAIA institution. The student must earn a “C” or better in each class, it cannot be an average of all classes. To make this point even clearer, there is no GPA requirement for the 12 institutional credit hours. Below are case studies where we will drive home some of the nuances of the bylaw amendment.
*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted.
Kevin received an ineligible determination from the eligibility center on July 1, 2019. He was ineligible because he only met one (GPA) of the initial eligibility requirements. Kevin enrolls in 12 institutional credit hours in the fall at a local junior college and gets a “B” in all of his classes. Kevin is now transferring to an NAIA institution for the spring of 2020, will he be eligible in the spring of 2020?
No! In order to utilize the mid-year eligibility opportunity, he must have taken and passed with a “C” the 12 institutional credit hours at the NAIA institution that is certifying him for the spring of 2020. Since he took these classes at a junior college, he would not be meet this bylaw and would be ineligible for the spring.
Kiko received an ineligible decision in the summer of 2019 because he did not meet any of the three initial eligibility requirements. He enrolls at his NAIA institution in the fall of 2019, and also takes the ACT again in September of 2019, after classes have started. Kiko receives a 20 on the ACT and gets straight “As” in his classes. Will Kiko be eligible for the spring of 2020, and if so, does he need to get an updated decision from the eligibility center?
Kiko would be eligible to compete in the spring of 2020 since he would now meet Article V, Section C, Item 5, Part b. There is nothing in the bylaw that would prohibit Kiko from taking the ACT again in the fall after classes have started, so he can utilize that qualifying test score to meet the first part of the bylaw. He would clearly meet the second part of the bylaw by getting straight “As” in his 12 institutional credit hours at the certifying NAIA institution.
Kiko would have to get an updated determination from the eligibility center in order to be certified to compete in the spring of 2020.
Quinn graduated from her high school in December of 2018 and went to an NAIA school in the spring of 2019. Quinn’s Irish high school does not calculate GPA or class rank but Quinn earned a 1,300 on the SAT. Quinn takes and passes 12 institutional credit hours in the spring of 2019 with “As” and “Bs”. Quinn never received a determination from the eligibility center prior to attending her NAIA school. Will Quinn meet the mid-year eligibility opportunity even though she didn’t receive an ineligible decision from the eligibility center and despite the fact her first term of attendance was in the spring?
Yes! First, the bylaw does not require that a student first receive an ineligible decision to utilize the opportunity, and second, the bylaw clearly states that the hours must be earned in the first term of attendance not specifically in the fall. Therefore, Quinn would meet the opportunity and would need to get a determination from the eligibility center before she could be certified to compete in the fall of 2019.
Piper only meets the GPA requirement prior to the fall of 2019 and thus receives an ineligible determination from the eligibility center. In order to save money, Piper enrolls part time in the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020. She passes 15 institutional credit hours between these two part-time terms with grades of “C” or better. Can Piper utilize the opportunity found in the bylaw to be eligible to compete in the fall of 2020?
No! The 12 institutional credit hours must be earned during the first term of attendance. Here Piper has not identified with her NAIA institution and thus has not used a term of attendance. She cannot piece together hours from part-time terms to help her meet this bylaw. She would not meet this bylaw going into the fall of 2020.
Herc is an entering freshman in the fall of 2019 and currently only meets the initial eligibility GPA requirement. Herc enrolls in 15 institutional credit hours at his NAIA school in the fall of 2019. Herc earns the following grades in each of his three credit hour classes: C-, C+, F, B, and C- and his GPA is a 1.900. Will Herc meet the mid-year eligibility opportunity heading into the 2020 spring semester?
Yes! Herc received a “C” or better in 12 institutional credit hours in his first term of attendance. For the purposes of this rule, a C- or C+ is still considered a C. Additionally, we do not care about his GPA nor do we care that he failed one of his classes since he has 12 institutional credit hours of “C” or better.
Please join Legislative Services at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.
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