Institutions Offering 2-Year & 4-Year Degrees

Article V, Section B, Item 22: Definition of a Transfer

To determine if an institution that offers both associate and baccalaureate degrees should be categorized as a two-year or a four-year institution: 

a.   If the institution participates in an intercollegiate athletics association that distinguishes between two-year and four-year institutions, the division the institution has chosen to participate in will be honored at face value and the institution treated accordingly. Should a student receive an associate degree from an institution that is considered a four-year institution, the student is treated as having identified with a four-year institution and all applicable requirements shall apply. 

b.   If the institution does not sponsor intercollegiate athletics or the institution participates in an intercollegiate athletic association that does not make this distinction (e.g. USCAA), the institution will be treated as a four-year institution if the student was pursuing a baccalaureate degree or treated as a two-year institution if the student was pursuing an associate degree as indicated on the student’s official transcript.

The higher education landscape has changed quite a bit since this bylaw was created in the early 1990’s. The intent of the bylaw was to determine how a student might identify for purposes of residency. However, due to the rise of many community colleges offering both two-year and four-year degrees, it is not as clear cut to define an institution’s type based off of its degree offerings.

Therefore, the National Eligibility Committee has determined that a student’s identification with a community college that offers both two-year and four-year degrees will be determined based off of the athletic association affiliation. Meaning, if an institution competes in the NJCAA, the student would be considered to be identified with a two-year institution. This ruling is in line with the similar rulings found in Article V, Section G and Article V, Section H.

Additionally, this ruling dictates if a student were to qualify for the Junior College Exception 2 (for the 24/36-HR Rule). If a student is attending a community college that offers both degree programs, the student would be required to 1) graduate with an associates degree in the last two semesters or three quarter terms of attendance; and 2) the athletic association of the community college must be with a junior college athletics association in order to receive the exception found in the bylaws.

CASEBOOK EXAMPLE

Transfer – Athletic Associations

Case: A student attends a two-year institution in which the athletic programs compete under the NJCAA. This institution has begun to offer numerous four-year degree programs. Is the student classified as a two-year or four-year transfer?

Approved Ruling: The student would be considered a two-year college transfer. The athletic association of the particular institution must be taken into account to consider whether a student is considered a two-year or four-year transfer. Similarly, if the student participated when the two-year institution competes under a four-year athletic association, the student would be considered a four-year transfer.

Related Articles

https://interpretations.naia.org/transfer-residency-casebook-examples/