Default Header

International Student Updates: International Transfers

ec intl logo
November 21, 2013
By -, -



The NAIA Eligibility Center reviews the eligibility rules for all first-time NAIA student-athletes, which includes reviewing previous university attendance in international countries.

Students are required to disclose attendance at any university/post-secondary institution attended, including any post-secondary institution in the US or abroad. Failure to include information on foreign attendance in the eligibility process can increase delays in eligibility reviews and can actually have negative impacts on a student’s eligibility in the NAIA, including permanent banishment.

General Applications:

- A year of university attendance at institutions abroad counts as two semesters (or three quarters).
- A year of regular university enrollment abroad similarly converts to a year of US post-secondary credit (30 US credits per year, or 15 year semester).
- Credits/courses listed on a student’s transcript count as institutional credit. 12 or more US credits in a semester constitutes a term of attendance.


International countries each have their own systems for approving post-secondary institutions as degree-granting institutions. Sometimes terms are used like recognized, approved, registered, accredited, etc. The NAIA Eligibility Center verifies that transcripts received are from 1.) institutions that are authorized to operate in the country of attendance and are authorized to grant degrees and 2.) that the student’s coursework was taken in an approved program at the time taken.

Universities and post-secondary institutions/programs that are considered to be comparable to US degree-granting regionally accredited institutions are considered for institutional credit (transfer credit) and count towards terms of attendance.

Crediting Systems:

Institutions around the world have their own crediting systems to represent the quantitative load of a student’s program of study. These systems can vary widely from US credit systems. Thus, taking credits at face value from international institutions usually does not provide an accurate representation of the work actually completed. Credit values can vary from 5 credits per year (some Australian universities) to several thousand credits (Russia). Therefore, in many cases, credits must be converted to US comparable credits. Some crediting systems convert uniformly, such as:

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is widely used throughout Europe. These credits convert to US comparables on a 2:1 ratio. 60 ECTS credits represents the normal full-time coursework taken per year and thus converts to 30 US credits.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) is used throughout the UK as their basis for crediting post-secondary coursework. In the CATS model, 120 points is the typical full-time course load in a given year. CATS convert to US comparables on a 4:1 ratio (120 CATS convert to 30 US credits).

Some programs in their whole convert uniformly, such as the Scottish Higher National Certificate/Diploma program and England’s BTEC Higher National Certificate/Diploma program (BTEC Level 4 and above is considered post-secondary). The Higher National Certificate (HNC) programs represent 1 year of coursework and thus convert for athletic eligibility to 2 terms of attendance and 30 US credits. The Higher National Diploma (HND) programs represent 2 years of coursework and thus convert for athletic eligibility to 4 terms of attendance and 60 US credits. Students complete these courses on a pass/fail modular basis. Upon achieving the certificate or diploma, the Eligibility Center considers the passing coursework as meeting the minimum 2.0 GPA requirement for athletic purposes.

Credit System or Program

Original Crediting System

US Converted Credits

Terms of Attendance



60 credits per year

30 US

2 per year



120 credit points per year

30 US

2 per year



1 year program

30 US


Pass = US 2.0


2 year program

60 US


Pass = US 2.0

 * See grading scales available on AACRAO EDGE

For additional international students resources please visit the international student’s tab on

For questions related to international students, please contact the NAIA Eligibility Center’s International Team by calling 1-816-595-8300 and press “2” or email at