Staying on Track to Graduate

Because we believe success in the classroom is just as important as winning on the field, we have standards to ensure student-athletes make progress toward a degree – every year and every season. They need to meet these standards to be eligible to play.  Our members have set separate standards that reflect the philosophies and goals of each division.

Our members have set separate standards that reflect the philosophies and goals of each division.

Division I

  • 40 percent of required coursework for a degree must be complete by the end of the second year, 60 percent by the end of the third year and 80 percent by the end of their fourth year.
  • Student-athletes are allowed five years of eligibility and athletically related financial aid.
  • All Division I student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each term to be eligible for the following term and must meet minimum grade-point average requirements related to the school’s GPA standards for graduation.

Division II

  • 24-semester/36-quarter hours of degree credit must be completed each academic year to remain eligible. At least 18-semester/27-quarter hours must be earned between the start of fall classes and spring commencement, and up to six-semester/nine-quarter hours can be earned in the summer.
  • All Division II student-athletes must earn at least nine-semester/eight-quarter hours each full-time term to be eligible for the following term.
  • Student-athletes must earn a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average each year.
  • Division II student-athletes must complete their four seasons of competition within the first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment.

Division III

  • While there are no minimum national standards for establishing or maintaining eligibility in Division III, student-athletes must be in good academic standing and make satisfactory progress toward a degree as determined by the institution.
  • Division III student-athletes must be enrolled in at least 12 semester or quarter hours, regardless of an institution’s own definition of “full time.”

Waivers are available for many of these rules, including progress-toward-degree standards.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do academic standards vary among divisions?

NCAA member institutions choose to affiliate with the division that most closely reflects that institution’s values and mission. Just as each institution has unique characteristics that attract different kinds of students, each NCAA division is distinctive and has its own requirements.


Why are Division I and II student-athletes required to complete a certain percentage of their degree each year?

One of the main goals of the NCAA is to integrate athletics with academics. With that in mind, the memberships in Divisions I and II have approved eligibility standards intended to maximize graduation rates while minimizing disparate effects on economically disadvantaged groups. The Division I standards currently in place (both percentage-of-degree requirements and the minimum grade-point average standards) are supported by data that show student-athletes who are most likely to graduate will in fact meet these standards.


What are the Division I grade-point average requirements to remain eligible?

Student-athletes must achieve 90 percent of the institution’s minimum overall grade-point average necessary to graduate (for example, 1.8) by the beginning of year two, 95 percent of the minimum GPA (1.9) by year three and 100 percent (2.0) by year four.