Want To Transfer Schools? Guide to Understanding NCAA Transfer Rules


NCAA Transfer Rules & Eligibility

We wrote this guide to give you information on the NCAA Transfer rules.  This guide breaks down the process a transfer must go through if he/she wants to change schools.  It will help you with determining eligibility of transfer athletes.  There are complex transfer rules for student athletes and this guide will give you insight on how to navigate that process.  


Are You A Transfer Athlete?

Your transfer status is determined by a number of conditions...some more common than others.  To transfer, you must meet one of the conditions in the below lists at one school, and then enroll at another school. Here is a short list of common transfer triggers:

  • You were officially enrolled full-time for a regular term (fall or spring semester, fall, winter, or spring quarter) and at the school on the first day of classes (this is most common)
  • You reported for a regular squad practice prior to the start of classes (this is second most common)
  • You participated in practice or competed even if you were not enrolled full-time (this is third most common)


Less Common Transfer Triggers

  • You attended a class while enrolled full-time, were provisionally admitted...later denied admission
  • You attend a night school enrolled full-time 
  • You attend a branch school while enrolled full-time; The branch school has varsity intercollegiate athletics and you do not transfer to the main campus
  • You attended another college prior to attending the branch campus
  • You received financial aid from the school for summer school prior to starting classes (unless denied admissions)

It's very important to know what type of transfer student you are in order to make sure that you comply with the NCAA Transfer Rules.


Types of Transfers

2-4 Transfers (Junior College or Community College)

You are a 2-4 transfer if you transfer from a two-year college (junior or community college) to a four-year college. There are 2 different types of 2-4 transfers with different requirements to play.

You are a 2-4 transfer if you transfer from a 2-year college and have been certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center as a final academic qualifier. If you have not been certified yet as a qualifier, you can choose to go through the Eligibility Center process after starting at the 2-year college. However, you may not use any course work or SAT/ACT tests taken after starting college to become a qualifier.



You are a non-qualifier transfer if you transfer from a 2-year college but have not been certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center as a final academic qualifier. This includes those that received a final certification in Divisions I and II, received a final certification in Division II, but have not received any final certification from the Eligibility Center.


4-4 Transfers (Four Year Transfer)

You are a 4-4 if you transfer from one four-year college to another four-year college. This includes NCAA to NCAA schools, NAIA schools to NCAA (or vice versa), and transfers from colleges that do not offer athletics (like international colleges) to NCAA or NAIA.


4-2-4 Transfers

You are a 4-2-4 transfer if you transfer from a 4-year college to a 2-year college then to another 4-year college. Cam Newton did this.  In Division I, 4-2-4 transfers have different and complex transfer rules. In Division II, the 4-2-4 transfer rules are similar with the 2-4 transfer rules and are most similar to the rules that apply to non qualifiers.

You can check the below great resource for transfer rules.  

Register for the NCAA Eligibility Center

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