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Nontraditional Courses

Nontraditional courses include classes taught online or through blended learning, distance learning, credit recovery, independent study, or similar means.

For a nontraditional program to be approved, the courses must meet the following requirements:

  • The courses must meet NCAA core-course requirements.
  • The courses must have ongoing and regular teacher-initiated interaction for the purposes of teaching, evaluating, and providing assistance throughout the duration of the course. This may include synchronous or asynchronous instructive interaction, including emails, videoconferencing, online chats, phone calls, and feedback on assessments.
  • The courses must have a defined time period for completion. This means the nontraditional program must identify the fastest and slowest paths to successfully complete a course (i.e., maximum and minimum time frame for completion).

A nontraditional course could fail to meet NCAA core-course requirements for any of the following reasons:

  • Does not require regular and ongoing instructive interaction between the student and teacher throughout the duration of a course.
  • Does not require students to complete the entire course.
  • Allows students to take numerous courses at the same time, especially courses in the same subject area or that are sequential.
  • Does not prepare students for four-year college classwork.
  • Does not have official student grade records.

Information for school administrators

If a nontraditional course or program at your school has not yet been reviewed by the NCAA, please contact the NCAA Eligibility Center to begin the review process.

Credit recovery programs

Many high schools offer credit recovery or credit retrieval programs for students to receive credit for a course they previously failed. Some students take credit recovery to improve grades for courses that they took previously or to take courses for the first time to catch up.

For a credit recovery program to be approved, the courses must meet the following requirements:

  • The courses must meet NCAA core-course requirements, and in some instances, nontraditional course requirements.
  • The school must follow its credit recovery policies, regardless if the student is an athlete. The NCAA Eligibility Center may request the school's policy, if necessary.
  • The credit recovery courses should be clearly identified as such on the high school transcript.
  • Repeated courses must be substantially comparable, qualitatively and quantitatively, to the previously attempted course.