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Approved Courses Frequently Asked Questions Regarding NCAA Initial-Eligibility
Q. When should a student register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse?
A. Students should register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse after the completion of their junior year in high school. At this time, a transcript that includes six semesters of grades should be sent to the clearinghouse from the high school. Additionally, students should request that their SAT or ACT scores be forwarded directly to the clearinghouse by entering code “9999” as a reporting selection when they register for the exam.
Q. How are students prioritized for processing at the clearinghouse?
A. Students who have their status requested by an NCAA institution are prioritized by the clearinghouse for processing. Students with disabilities and students who individually request a preliminary status report will also be prioritized. If a student’s eligibility status is not prioritized in one of these three ways, the clearinghouse may not process the student’s file.
Q. How is the NCAA core grade-point average different from a student’s overall grade-point average?
A. The NCAA core-course grade-point average is calculated using only NCAA-approved core courses in the required core academic areas. High-school grade-point averages generally include the grades from most or all courses attempted in grades nine through 12.
Q. May weighted grades for honors or advanced placement courses be factored into the calculation of the student’s core grade-point average?
A. A school’s normal practice of weighting honors or advanced courses may be used as long as the weighting is used for computing grade-point averages. Weighting cannot be used if the high school weights grades solely for the purpose of determining class rank. Additionally, in no instance may the student receive greater than 1.000 additional quality point for purposes of calculating the grade-point average for initial eligibility.
Q. What options are available to students who do not meet the NCAA initial-eligibility standards?
A. Students who do not meet the initial-eligibility standards may be granted a waiver of their deficiency through the NCAA initial-eligibility requirements based on objective evidence that demonstrates circumstances in which a student’s overall academic record warrants waiver of the normal application of the legislation. The waiver must be filed by an NCAA institution (college or university) on behalf of the student. However, students with a diagnosed disability may file a waiver on their own behalf.
Q. May courses taken in the eighth grade that are high-school core courses (e.g., Algebra I, Spanish I, Freshman Composition) be used to meet the 14 core-course requirements?
A. Courses taken in the eighth grade may not be used to satisfy the core-curriculum requirements regardless of the course content or level. However, in the rare event that students need to have courses taken in the eighth grade considered for eligibility purposes, the initial-eligibility waiver process is available (see question No. 5). Note: Courses taken after eighth-grade graduation, but prior to the first regular ninth-grade term (i.e., the summer after eighth grade but prior to the fall term of ninth grade) may not be used to satisfy the core-curriculum requirements.
Q. May students use courses taken after high-school graduation?
A. Generally, students who enroll in a NCAA Division I institution may use only courses completed in grades nine through 12 to meet the NCAA core-curriculum requirements. As a result, courses completed during the summer after high school graduation may not be used to meet the core-curriculum requirements. Students who return after graduation to the high school from which they graduated either may complete additional core courses or may repeat core courses during the postgraduate term or year, in order to meet the core-course requirements. These students cannot enroll in college and participate in intercollegiate athletics until the subsequent fall. Students enrolling in Division II institutions and students with disabilities (enrolling in either Divisions I or II) may use core courses taken after high-school graduation to meet the NCAA core-curriculum requirements, provided the courses are completed prior to full-time enrollment in a college or university.
Q. Are vocational courses acceptable?
A. Traditional vocational courses are not acceptable. These include courses such as agriculture, auto mechanics, accounting and health. However, courses taught using applied approaches to teaching may very well meet the NCAA standard for a core course. The core-course requirements explain in detail the NCAA’s requirements for a core course.
Q. May courses taken by a high-school student at a local college be used to meet the 14 core-course requirements?
A. College courses may be used to satisfy core-curriculum requirements if the courses are accepted and awarded credit by the high school for any student and meet all other requirements for core courses. For NCAA Division I only, such courses must be placed on the student’s high-school transcript. Courses taken at a college will NOT appear on the high-school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses. The high-school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses will include only those courses taught/offered by the high school.
Q. What documentation does the NCAA require to enable a student with a disability to use a nonstandard ACT/SAT and/or courses designated for students with disabilities?
A. The following documentation is required: (a) a current signed copy of a professional evaluation report that states the diagnosis of the student’s disability; and (b) a copy of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Individual Transition Plan (ITP) or Section 504 Plan or statement that relates to accommodations received by the student with the disability. The NCAA national office, not the clearinghouse, processes the information.
Q. May students with a diagnosed disability use courses that are designated for students with a disability to meet NCAA core-course requirements?
A. Students with appropriately diagnosed disabilities may use courses for students with disabilities for the purpose of meeting NCAA core-course requirements. Courses for students with disabilities must appear on the high-school’s list of NCAA-approved core courses in order for a student to receive NCAA credit for the course. In order to use such courses toward a student’s core-course requirements, students must document their disability with the NCAA by submitting the required documentation (see question No. 10).
Q. May a nonstandard ACT/SAT be used for initial eligibility?
A. Only students with a diagnosed disability may use nonstandard test scores. Please note that students with disabilities must have required documentation (see question No. 10) sent to the NCAA for review.
Q. Does the prohibition against special education, remedial or compensatory courses apply to students with disabilities?
A. No. In order for courses designated for students with disabilities to be approved, the course must be substantially comparable, qualitatively and quantitatively, to an NCAA-approved core course offered in that academic area.
Q. What if a student’s final high-school transcript contains an error or the student has grade changes that are not included on the final transcript mailed to the clearinghouse?
A. Once the clearinghouse has received all required documentation, including a final high-school transcript for a student, they are able to produce a final certification report. If a high school forwards a revised final transcript to the clearinghouse, the clearinghouse will not be able to use the changes to issue a revised final certification report. Instead, any changes to a student’s final high-school transcript must be approved through the initial-eligibility waiver process (see question No. 5 for more information about the waiver process).
Q. May courses taken at high school “A” be accepted if they appear on high school “B’s” transcript?
A. No. High school “B” may provide the clearinghouse with an official copy of high school “A’s” transcript, but courses from one high school cannot be accepted on another high school’s transcript.
Q. May courses taught via nontraditional methods (i.e., independent study, Web-based, correspondence courses) be used to meet the 14 core-course requirements?
A. Students may use courses taught via nontraditional methods to satisfy the core-curriculum requirements provided certain criteria are met. If approved, these courses appear on the high-school’s list of NCAA-approved core-courses. The core-courses requirements will explain in detail the NCAA’s requirements for nontraditionally taught courses.
Q. How is my core-course grade-point average calculated?
A. Your core-course grade-point average may be calculated using your 14 best grades from courses that meet the core-course distribution requirements. Core-courses beyond the required 14 may be used to meet the core-course grade-point average if the distribution requirements are met.
Q. How are courses taken over two years counted?
A. A one-year course that is spread over a longer period of time (i.e., two years, three semesters) is considered as one course and would receive a maximum of one core-course credit.
Q. Where can I find a list of my high school’s approved core courses?
A. Each high school’s list of approved core courses may be found by linking to the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse page of the NCAA Web Site at www.ncaa.org.
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October 29, 2020