Institutional Credit and Transfer Credit

Bylaw Article V, Section B, Item 9

“Institutional Credit Hour: Any credit hour attributed to a course that is recorded on the transcript with a grade and credit hours earned. Institutional credit hours shall be accepted for eligibility certification purposes only after the instructor submits the completed course grade in the normal manner to the institutional registrar for posting on the transcript.”

Bylaw Article V, Section B, Item 10 

New bylaw added at the 2021 National Convention. This bylaw removed the previous inter-term bylaw application.

“Inter-Term: A session or a group of courses that occurs and is reflected on the official academic transcript between two regular academic terms and is reported on the official academic transcript. These sessions cannot meet the definition of a term of attendance as defined in Article V, Section B, Item 21. Summer terms cannot constitute an inter-term.

The inter-term shall be treated as follows in determining eligibility:

  1. Inter-terms are considered non-terms. A student cannot identify during the inter-term, and hours earned during the inter-term are considered non-term hours and shall be applied toward eligibility accordingly.
  2. Completed inter-term credit can be used toward eligibility requirements once the grades are posted in the normal manner and as long as the credit is shown to be earned before the start of the NAIA institution’s Winter/Spring term. Credit is considered earned at the end of the academic term that the course is attributed to on the issuing institution’s transcript, pursuant to Article V, Section B, Item 3. If the issuing institution’s transcript does not attribute the course to an academic term and instead includes specific start/end dates, the end  date listed on the transcript will be used. If neither a term nor dates appear on the issuing institution’s transcript, dates of the course as verified by the institution’s registrar may be used. For students with continuing identification at the same NAIA institution, the credit must be approved and accepted by the NAIA institution and appear on the NAIA institution’s transcript.
  3. Courses taken in these sessions cannot be used to meet the 12-Hour Enrollment Rule as described in Article V, Section C, Item 3.”


An NAIA institution must apply transfer credits in the term in which the credits are issued on the official transcript from the original institution for purposes of determining eligibility.

Background and Intent

The purpose of the bylaw is to create a consistent application and definition of inter-term that will apply for all students and institutions, define inter-term sessions as non-terms and credits earned as non-term hours, and clarify the issuing institution’s transcript will be relied on to determine when the credits were earned. Regardless of how or where a student’s new institution records transfer hours on its transcript, for purposes of determining the student’s eligibility the class should be considered earned based on where the original issuing institution placed the credits. This will most often come into play for purposes of applying the Progress Rule, 24/36-Hour Rule and 2.0 GPA requirement for transfer students.


A student chooses to enroll in a course outside of their NAIA institution in order to obtain eligibility for the spring academic term. The course the student is enrolled in is during the winter break from December through January. Upon completing the outside course, the student obtains the official transcript from the issuing transcript and the it lists the course as earned during the upcoming spring academic term. Can the student use these credits towards meeting eligibility requirements for the spring academic term at their NAIA school?

No, the NAIA institution must apply the credit earned in the term that is listed on the issuing institution’s official transcript. Even if the NAIA institution’s academic policy allows the course to be listed as a winter course on the NAIA transcript, the student cannot use the credit towards eligibility for the spring.


Q1: Does this bylaw mean an institution cannot have an inter-term anymore?

A: No. The previous directive of the inter-term bylaw was simply to dictate how inter-terms were to be certified based on how the institution “declared” the inter-term (i.e. “attached” to fall or spring or stood alone). The NAIA has always provided an institution autonomy to determine whether it wishes to have an inter-term. 

Q2: Do we still need to declare how our inter-term will be used (i.e. “attached” to the fall or spring or stand alone)?

A: No. With the 2021 bylaw change, there is no option to make such a choice, and therefore there is nothing to declare. All institutions sponsoring an inter-term session will have the inter-term and the corresponding credits treated in a consistent fashion. The normal regulation of certifying within 30 days from the close of a term will stand (per Bylaw Article V, Section C, Item 14).

Q3: Previously, our school attached the inter-term to the fall. Under this proposal, could the inter-term credits be used for identification in the fall or spring term?

A: No. Previously, though a student could technically begin to identify and establish residency in an inter-term, that did not allow inter-term credits to take the place of identification in a fall or spring academic term. Inter-term credits have always been considered non-term credits as defined by Bylaw Article V, Section B, Items 12 and 21. One objective of this bylaw amendment is to make this clearer in the bylaws.

Q4: In the past, our inter-term was a “stand alone” inter-term and we were able to use the credits to meet the 24/36-Hour Rule for spring eligibility. Can we still do this if this bylaw amendment were to pass?

A: Yes. Part ‘b’ of the bylaw states that the credits can be used towards eligibility once the grades are posted in the normal manner and as long as the credit is shown to be earned before the start of the NAIA institution’s winter or spring term. Assuming that your inter-term could be verified as being completed prior to the start of your spring term (in accordance with the criteria listed in the proposed amendment), those inter-term credits could be used to satisfy the 24/36-Hour Rule for the spring term.

Q5: If one of our student-athletes takes a course that ends on January 20th, but the start of our term at the NAIA school is January 12th, can the student still use this course towards eligibility in the spring term?

A: It depends on how the credit is shown to be earned on the issuing school’s transcript. If the credit is shown on the transcript to be earned in an inter-term, winter term or otherwise shown to be earned before the spring term, then the course can be used for eligibility once the final grade is recorded on the official transcript.

However, if the issuing institution’s transcript attributed this course to “Spring”or listed the course with completion dates of “Jan. 2 – Jan. 20” or similar, a reliance on the transcript would result in this course being viewed as not being earned prior to the start of your spring term and therefore could not be used towards spring eligibility.

Q6: What does “reliance on transcript” mean?

A: For a variety of different eligibility rules, the NAIA bylaws have been consistent in relying on the issuing school’s official transcript in determining how credits can be used towards eligibility. Part ‘b’ of this bylaw walks through a three-tiered process in determining the timing of when a credit is considered earned, which clarifies how credits can be used towards eligibility.

Q7: A common inter-term course that our student-athletes take at another institution lasts December 15 – January 15. However, the institution lists this course as a “spring inter-session.” Can we use this course for eligibility in the spring term?

A: No. Under this bylaw application, if the issuing school states the inter-term is a spring course of one kind or another, then the credit cannot be considered earned prior to the start of your spring term, regardless of when the course is taken and regardless of how the NAIA institution wishes to transcribe the course.

Q8: If we have a transfer student-athlete that comes to our school at winter break, are they not allowed to compete until the spring term? 

A: Yes, if a student is eligible under all NAIA eligibility rules, a transfer student may compete during the winter inter-term or break. A transfer student who is eligible to compete immediately was never required to be enrolled in inter-term in order to be certified to compete. The student must be identified in the following spring term in order to be certified to compete. A transfer student-athlete who joins an NAIA team and is eligible can be certified to compete the day following the end of the fall term.

Related Bylaws

Article V, Section B, Item 21

Related Interpretations

Online Courses

NEC Interp – Creation date unknown. Current as of: March 2016