Earning TOA Without Graduating High School

Bylaw: Article V, Section B, Item 22

“Term of Attendance: A term of attendance is any quarter, semester or trimester (excluding summer sessions) in which the student becomes identified at a single institution.”

Bylaw:  Article V, Section B, Item 12 (Definition of Non-Term) Casebook Example

“Non-Term — High School

Approved Ruling: High school students may take 12 or more hours of college credits in a term without establishing a term of attendance.”


The approved ruling in the casebook example applies to students who are dual enrolled during high school. The student will no longer be considered a high school student if the student is not dual enrolled at a high school while taking higher education courses. In these instances, if the student has identified at a higher education institution as reflected on an official transcript, the student can subsequently be charged terms of attendance, regardless of whether a high school degree or diploma can be confirmed.


Student graduates from a private high school in May 2017. He is unable to pay the balance due to the school, so the school will not release his transcript nor will it confirm if he did or did not graduate.

Student enrolls in 12 hours at an NAIA institution in the Fall of 2017. However, after the NAIA school determines the student does not have a high school transcript, the student is forced to withdraw. The courses show on the NAIA official transcript as 12 hours of W’s. The student is identified and this will be counted as a term of attendance, as the student will no longer be considered dual enrolled.

Note that while this will count as a term of attendance, the student may be able to satisfy an exception for purposes of the 24/36-Hour Rule. If the student can take the GED during the academic term(s) he is identified at the NAIA institution and also has a qualifying ACT or SAT score, he can then utilize the exception found in Article V, Section C, Item 6.

Related Bylaws

Article V, Section C, Item 1

Related Interpretations

International Student – Multiple Graduation Dates

NEC Interp – Creation date unknown. Current as of: Febrary 2018