For High School Students


High School Students

Is it your goal to play college sports? It's never too early to start planning! With over 250 schools across the country, the NAIA can help you find the perfect fit for your athletic college career.


Get in the Game!




The NAIA Experience

Student-athletes come first in the NAIA. They are the inspiration that drives us to make character a core component and benefit of all intercollegiate sports. Read on to learn what you can expect from your NAIA experience.

In the NAIA, a student-athlete can compete during four “seasons of competition” within the first 10 semesters (or equivalent) in college. A season of competition is charged when you participate in one or more intercollegiate contests whether at the varsity, junior varsity, or freshman level or in professional-level, non-collegiate competition. To compete, student-athletes must be enrolled in at least 12 hours every semester or quarter and be making normal progress toward a bachelor’s degree. They must also meet freshman and/or continuing eligibility rules.

NAIA recruiting rules encourage coach-student and personal relationships. Benefits of NAIA recruiting rules include:
  • No recruiting calendar restrictions of any kind
  • Ability to freely communicate with NAIA coaches directly
  • Direct interaction with NAIA coaches

Students are permitted a maximum of two days of tryouts throughout their entire athletic career. If a school has a policy for reimbursing all students for such visits, the same can be applied to you as a prospective student-athlete.

As an association, the NAIA does not have a letter of intent program in which students sign a binding agreement to participate in athletics at a particular institution. Student-athletes may sign letters of intent with an individual NAIA school, however, they aren’t obligated to attend that institution. That said, some NAIA conferences require their member schools to recognize letters of intent that are signed with other institutions within the conference. Please check with your prospective school to see if any conference programs apply.

To participate in athletics in the NAIA, you must be admitted to the college or university under admission standards equal to or higher than those applied to the general student body.

NAIA rules on financial aid are straightforward. Each school determines how much aid it awards to an individual student-athlete. Under no conditions may anyone else provide direct financial assistance to any student-athlete. Scholarships, grants-in-aid, or student loans are controlled by each institution through the same committee that handles all student loans and scholarships.
Financial aid to student-athletes is limited to the actual cost of:
  • Tuition
  • Mandatory fees, books, and supplies are required for courses in which the student-athlete is enrolled
  • Room and board based on the official room and board allowance listed in the institution’s catalog

Each sport has an overall limit on the amount of financial aid it can award as full or partial grants to students in that sport.

Academically gifted students can be exempted from these limits if they meet grade or test score criteria established by the NAIA.


Initial eligibility for incoming college freshmen is simple. The NAIA does not have any core course requirements and can be determined as early as the summer following your junior year. The NAIA Eligibility Center will determine your eligibility based on your high school grades and sometimes your SAT/ACT scores, class rank, and/or dual credit. Rules can differ if you are a GED, home school student, or took time off between high school and the NAIA. Register at to access details in your resources menu.

Rules can differ if you are a GED or home school student. Register at to access details in your resources menu.

Note: For detailed information about the process for international students, please see the NAIA Guide for the International Student-Athlete.

Follow your path to eligibility

foam finger


Get Pre-Eligible

Register with NCSA and showcase your future eligibility status as early as your first year in high school.


Get Eligible

Take your life and your game to the next level. Register with PlayNAIA, the official clearinghouse for NAIA eligibility.


Find your NAIA School

Search by sport, location, school size and more!


Get ready to play!

Play the sport you love while earning your degree.

foam finger

What our student-athletes are saying

quote mark

The talent out here is tremendous. If I could give anybody advice ... I'd say give the NAIA a chance. It's a great place to play.

Logan Brettell
Baker University (Kan.)


See more testimonials

It's never too early to get eligible




The NAIA has partnered with NCSA College Recruiting, the world’s largest collegiate athletic recruiting network. NCSA serves as the official North American recruiting services partner of the NAIA. Register now to use the NAIA Pre-Eligibility Indicator Tool which allows prospective student-athletes to showcase their future eligibility status to NAIA member institutions as early as their first year in high school.


Start your recruiting profile with NCSA 




Playnaia is the official clearinghouse for NAIA eligibility. Every student-athlete must register with the NAIA Eligibility Center to play sports at an NAIA college or university. Register now to make sure your eligibility is in order, increase your opportunity for scholarships, and show coaches you are ready to play.


Register with PlayNAIA now