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.
Based on a 4.0 scale, Division II student-athletes must earn a 1.8 GPA after 24 semester or 36 quarter hours, a 1.9 GPA after 48 semester or 72 quarter hours and a 2.0 GPA after both 72 semester or 108 quarter hours and 96 semester or 144 quarter hours.
Our members have set separate standards that reflect the philosophies and goals of each division.
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.
24 hours of degree credit must be completed each academic year to remain eligible. At least 18 of those hours must be earned between the start of fall classes and spring commencement, and up to six hours can be earned in the summer.
All Division II student-athletes must earn at least six credit hours each full-time term to be eligible for the following term.
Student-athletes must earn a 1.8 cumulative grade-point average after earning 24 hours, a 1.9 cumulative grade-point average after earning 48 hours and a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average after earning 72 hours to remain eligible.
Division II student-athletes must complete their four seasons of competition within the first 10 semesters or 15 quarters of full-time enrollment.
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.”
Getting Your College education
A college degree has a direct impact on a person’s quality of life. A 2013 study by The College Board shows that the median lifetime earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients are 65 percent higher than those of high school graduates.
Access to a college education also is a great benefit to student-athletes. NCAA research shows 15 percent of Division I student-athletes are first-generation college students.
The NCAA’s most recent data indicate that more than eight out of every 10 Division I student-athletes are earning their degrees. Overall, college student-athletes graduate at rates higher than college students in general. As part of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, more than 11,500 student-athletes have returned to campuses to complete their degrees since 2005 after finishing their athletics eligibility.
More than 150,000 student-athletes receive $2.4 billion in athletics scholarships each year from NCAA member colleges and universities. The average college student graduates with $35,200 in debt. Athletics scholarships offset these costs for student-athletes. In addition, USA Today determined that a full men’s basketball scholarship can be worth at least $120,000 per year, when factoring in goods, services and future earnings.
Student Assistance Fund.
Division I student-athletes have access through their campus and conference offices to more than $70 million from the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund. These resources can be used in a variety of ways, from helping student-athletes fly home in the event of a family tragedy to purchasing a winter coat or other needed clothing that they might not be able to afford.
Elite training opportunities.
Student-athletes have regular access to top-notch coaching, facilities and equipment. These resources typically cost Olympic athletes thousands of dollars per year.
Academic and support services.
Student-athletes receive academic support, such as state-of-the-art technology and tutoring, and have access to athlete-focused academic advisors in addition to traditional academic advisors. The NCAA also provides resources each year to schools as part of the Academic Enhancement Fund.
Student-athletes have access to cafeteria “training tables” on campus. In addition, some schools hire nutritionists and dieticians to work with each student-athlete.
The NCAA takes appropriate steps to modify safety guidelines, playing rules and standards to minimize risks and provide student-athletes with the best opportunity to enjoy a healthy career.
Most student-athletes are provided medical insurance through their schools. The NCAA also provides a catastrophic injury program. Furthermore, student-athletes can obtain their own disability insurance based on future earnings potential as professional athletes, which is permitted under NCAA rules.
Exposure and experiences.
Student-athletes have the opportunity to travel across the country and around the world for regular season contests, NCAA championships and foreign tours. Some student-athletes receive national and international exposure during competition. These experiences can open doors for the few who will compete professionally and for the majority who will go pro in something other than sports.
Preparation for life.
Increasingly, the business world is focusing on creating a team environment with employees. By competing in college sports, student-athletes learn important skills, such as leadership, time management and how to effectively work with others toward a common goal.