As college athletics in the USA continues to grow more and more competitive, colleges look internationally for athletes more than ever. The NCAA, the body governing all inter-collegiate athletics in the USA, has developed some resources to help determine eligibility of an international student to compete for a US college or university in inter-collegiate sports.
Here are the NCAA’s FAQs for International Student-Athletes:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register with the NCAA Eligibility Center?
There are several documents required to apply to the NCAA Eligibility Center. International student-athletes must submit all of the following items:
1. Fill out the NCAA Eligibility Center online application at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
2. This online application requires a payment of $85 by MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover (credit or debit) card. The fee is not refundable should you decide not to attend an NCAA school or decide not to participate in athletics. *Effective September 1, 2010, the registration fee will increase to $95 for international students.
3. Original academic records [or certified (attested) copies of the original documents] and certified, literal English translations for records not originally in English sent (not faxed) to the NCAA Eligibility Center.
4. Score(s) from either the ACT or SAT standardized tests, reported directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center from the testing agency by requesting code “9999.”
After you graduate, If your eligibility status is requested by an NCAA school, the NCAA Eligibility Center will review your final transcript and proof of graduation to make a final certification decision according to NCAA standards. Note, however, if you fail to submit all the documents required or if no NCAA school requests your eligibility status, your incomplete file will be discarded after five years, requiring you to pay a new fee if certification is requested after that time. The NCAA Eligibility Center must receive all documents before a certification decision can be made.
What are the eligibility requirements for international students?
If you have never previously enrolled as a full-time student in a university (the use of the word university is important because college/collegiate often implies secondary school), you must meet minimum academic standards in order to be eligible for practice, competition and athletics financial aid your first year. The minimum required standards will vary depending on the country. These standards are outlined in the NCAA’s Guide to International Academic Standards for Athletics Eligibility.
Also, you will need a minimum score on the SAT or the ACT. International students MUST take the SAT or the ACT. Other tests, such as the TOEFL or the TWSE, are not acceptable. For more information on the SAT, please contact College Board Online at www.collegeboard.com. For information on the ACT, please contact www.act.org.
If you are currently enrolled (or have previously been enrolled) as a full-time student at a university in a foreign country, you will be considered a transfer student-athlete after enrolling
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at an NCAA university. Please see the NCAA Transfer Guide for more information on your eligibility.
What are the required credentials for an international student?
College-bound student-athletes must submit all annual or semester transcripts displaying grades or scores and hours of study. College-bound student-athletes must also submit proof of graduation, line-for-line translations of all documents produced in a language other than English and results from standardized tests – SAT or ACT only.
Please include the NCAA ID with all mailings of documents. Please note documents sent via fax or e-mail will not be accepted. See below for mailing instructions.
If a student is unsure of whether a document is required, he or she can either call the NCAA Eligibility Center or send copies of all credentials. In most cases, the staff will advise the college-bound student-athlete to forward any questionable credential.
What transcripts/marks do I need to submit to the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Original documents or certified photocopies of semester or yearly marks for all years of secondary school education must be forwarded to the NCAA Eligibility Center before a certification can be rendered. This shall include at least school years nine (9) and higher for all students.
Canadian students are reminded that high school transcripts issued by the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia do not include ninth grade marks. College-bound student-athletes must contact the school where ninth grade was completed to have the transcript forwarded to the NCAA Eligibility Center (preferably together with your 10th through 12th grade transcript). In addition, official copies of final transcripts must be sent directly from the high school or Ministry of Education. The date of graduation and degree awarded must be marked on the transcript.
What does the NCAA Eligibility Center need for proof of graduation?
The document issued by a college-bound student-athlete’s country after completion of secondary school must be provided before a certification can be completed. This document varies by country. It may be a final diploma, a leaving exam, a maturity certificate, a record of learning, a higher certificate or other document. The document must include the official name or type of diploma and date issued.
If the proof of graduation includes a leaving certificate, maturity exam, records of learning, higher certificates or exam certificates, the college-bound student-athlete must provide final
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credentials or photocopies of the original documents certified by his or her secondary school. Provisional results will not be used. The exam results must be presented on final certificates.
Exception: Students presenting the IGSCE, HIGSE, GSCE, GCE or South African Senior Certificates may forward certified copies of provisional results for academic certification purposes.
Some documents are considered by themselves as proof of graduation. A partial list of examples includes: Kenya Secondary Exam certificate, Abitur, Bagrut, French Baccalaureate, GSCE certificate, GCE certificates, WAEC exam results, South African Senior Certificate, and All Indian Senior Certificate.
How do I send my SAT or ACT scores?
SAT or ACT scores must be sent directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center by the testing agency. Paper or faxed copies will not be accepted. College-bound student-athletes should use the reporting code 9999 when requesting a score from either testing agency.
TOEFEL exam results should not be forwarded to the NCAA Eligibility Center. These scores are not used for certification purposes.
Can I send photocopies of my credentials?
Photocopies of credentials will only be accepted if they are certified as true copies of original documents forwarded from the NCAA school’s office of admissions or the principal or headmaster of the college-bound student-athlete’s secondary school. Photocopies that are not certified as true copies of originals or come from a source other than the sources listed above will not be used. Photocopies will not be accepted directly from a college-bound student-athlete or his or her relatives unless they are certified with a cover letter from the school official (listed above); each page is certified and stamped as a true copy; and arrive in an envelope sealed by the secondary school prior to providing the documents to the student.
Exceptions: Kenya Certificates of Secondary Education must be sent directly from the Kenya Examination Office. West Africa Exam Council results will only be accepted when a college-bound student-athlete provides a Buddie card used to access the WAEC exam. Photocopies of credentials from Kenya and WAEC are not acceptable.
What is required for translations of my credentials?
If documents are issued in a language other than English, line-for-line translations must be provided by a person not related or associated with the student or the athletics department at the school the college-bound student-athlete plans to attend. The translator must provide a letter, including any appropriate stamps or seals, explaining his or her qualifications as a
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translator. It is recommended that translations be performed by a qualified professor from a university or college or a certified official translator. Translations from unverifiable sources will not be accepted. Translations must accompany the original documents written in the native language.
Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns?
The NCAA Eligibility Center can be contacted directly by telephone or by mail. The country code for the United States is “1” and the NCAA Eligibility Center telephone number is 317/223-0700, fax number is 317/968-5100. The NCAA Eligibility Center office is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. U.S. Eastern time. The NCAA Eligibility Center can be contacted via mail at:
NCAA Eligibility Center
P.O. Box 7136
Indianapolis, Indiana 46207
Overnight or Express Mailing Address:
NCAA Eligibility Center
1802 Alonzo Watford Sr. Drive
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Can you forward information on NCAA universities that offer my sport?
You will need to contact each university on your own. Since telephone calls from foreign countries can be expensive, the NCAA Eligibility Center suggests using the Internet for your research. Most universities have Web pages with information about their athletics programs. A list of links to college Web pages can be found in our College Sports Links Section.
For more information, visit the NCAA’s page for International Student-Athletes.