Georgia High School Association Constitution & Bylaws
Beginning with the 2021-22SY:
Rising 6th grade students, rising 9th grade students and conditionally enrolled students are ineligible to participate in any Athletics program until all registration requirements have been satisfied.
For more information, visit http://www.ghsa.net/
1.60 - SCHOOL SERVICE AREAS / TRANSFER / MIGRANT STUDENTS / MIGRATORY WAIVER
1.61 School service areas for member public schools are those attendance boundaries established by local boards
of education from which a school normally draws its students. The school service area for a member private
school is the county in which the private school is located. The school service area for a startup or converted
charter school will be the same as the school from which the charter school draws its students.
1.62 A transfer student who has established eligibility at a former school in grades 9-12 shall be immediately
eligible at the new school if:
(a) The student moved simultaneously with the entire parental unit or persons he/she resided with at the
former school, and the student and parent(s) or persons residing with the student live in the service area
of the new school. This is known as a “bona fide move.” (NOTE: A move within the same service area
does not constitute a bona fide move.)
(1) The student may choose the public or private school serving that area.
(2) It must be apparent that the parent(s) or the persons residing with the student and the student have
relinquished the residence in the former service area and have occupied a residence in the new
(3) The following factors, although not conclusive, may be evidence of relinquishment of the former
residence: Selling the residence and vacating it; OR vacating the residence and listing it for sale at
a fair market value; OR vacating the residence and leasing it to another (other than a relative) at fair
market value; OR abandoning the residence and shutting off the unnecessary utilities. NOTE: When
a family claims multiple residences, the residence for which they apply for a homestead exemption
will be declared the primary residence provided the family spends the majority of their time at this
(4) The bona fide move is validated when the student’s family maintains the new residence for at least
one calendar year. A return to the previous service area within that year renders the student to be
a migrant student. All hardship appeal processes are available.
(b) The student was enrolled in a private school or a magnet school and has a bona fide move from one
public school service area to another public school service area. A student in this situation may attend
either the public school or a private school serving his area of residence. NOTE: Students who have a
bona fide move within a service area that has multiple private schools must file a hardship to seek
eligibility if they wish to enroll in a different private school.
(c) The student was enrolled in a non-member school in Georgia and, without a bona fide move,
transferred to a GHSA member school that serves his area of residence as long as:
(1) It is the initial move of the student from a non-member school to a member school serving his area
of residence, AND
(2) The student was enrolled at the high school serving his area of residence in grades 9-12 before
attending the non-member school, OR
(3) The student has not yet established eligibility at grades 9-12 at a member school serving his area
(4) A student who transfers from a GHSA member school to an independent school entering the GHSA
in the next school year must be enrolled at the entering independent school by January 31 of the
year preceding their becoming a GHSA member school in order to be eligible.
NOTE: Rules about joint custody transfers have control over the one-time transfer restriction in this
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(d) The student transfers from a non-member home school and the receiving school grants credit so that
the student has accumulated sufficient units. At the time such credit is given, the student must also
have passed a minimum of at least 2.5 units the previous semester. The student becomes eligible when
credit is awarded officially.
(e) The student is involved in a foreign exchange program that is approved and published on the “Advisory
List of International Educational Travel and Exchange Programs” published by the Council on Standards
for International Educational Travel (CSIET). This list is found on the GHSA web site.
(1) The student shall be considered eligible for a maximum period of one calendar year.
(2) The student shall not be a graduate of a secondary school in his home country.
(3) The student must maintain eligibility requirements at the member school.
(4) The foreign exchange program must randomly assign students to schools by a method that insures
that no student, school, or other interested party may influence the assignment for athletic purposes.
“Direct Placement” foreign exchange students must go through the hardship appeal process to
(5) All eligibility forms (Form B) for foreign exchange students must be accompanied by documentation
from the CSIET-approved foreign exchange program showing that the student has been placed
according to the normal procedures for that agency.
(f) If one of his/her parents or the custodial parent is a certified teacher or administrator teaching in grades
9-12 at the receiving school. This opportunity is available one time only at any given school. (NOTE:
Rules about joint custody transfers overrule the one-time transfer restriction in this by-law.)
(g) The student has one of the following family related circumstances which shall constitute a waiver of the
“bona fide move” rule:
(1) There is a Superior Court Final Order changing permanent physical custody of the student from
one parent to the other parent and the student moves to the residence of the parent receiving
custody in a new service area and attends the member school serving that service area. Note: All
cases involving non-parental custody changes must be appealed through the hardship process.
(2) There is a Superior Court Final Order awarding permanent joint physical custody to the parents
and the student elects to move from the residence of one parent to the residence of the other parent
in a new service area and attends the member school serving that area of residence. Provided,
however, that such an election can be made only once during a 12-month period beginning the date
of the transfer and the Final Order must have specifically awarded the parents “joint physical
custody” of the student. An award of “joint legal custody” shall not suffice for purposes of this
(3) There is a death of the custodial parent with whom the student resided and the student moves to
live with the other parent in a new service area and attends the member school serving that area of
(4) There is a military transfer of one or both custodial parents that requires a change of residence of
the student to a new service area and the student attends the member school serving that area of
(NOTE: Eligibility forms for transfer eligibility under paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) above must be accompanied by certified copies of applicable Court Orders. Eligibility forms for transfer eligibility under paragraph
(4) above must be accompanied by true and correct copies of verifiable deployment orders.)
(h) Students who are U.S. citizens and who have been enrolled and attended a high school in a foreign
country, upon return to the U.S., shall be eligible to participate at a GHSA member school provided the
student lives in the new school’s service area and is otherwise eligible under GHSA age, eight-semester,
academic and other eligibility rules.
(i) Students who are transferred from one school attendance area to another school attendance area by a
mandate of the local board of education maintain their eligibility.
(j) Married students setting up a household (domicile) shall be eligible in the school of their residence
provided they meet all other requirements of eligibility.
(k) Students at the Atlanta School for the Deaf will be eligible at the school serving their area of residence
provided they meet all other eligibility requirements.
(l) The migratory rule (See 1.63) will be waived one time for boarding students only who enter the
following schools: Ben Franklin Academy; Darlington; Riverside Military Academy; Tallulah Falls.
Exception: Students from foreign countries not on an approved foreign exchange program are not eligible.
(m) Students entering a school as an “unaccompanied youth” under the conditions of the McKinney-Vento
Act must go through the hardship appeal process to become eligible.
(n) If approved by the local board of education, students enrolled in a magnet or specialty school shall be
allowed to participate in GHSA extracurricular activities as a member of the school team for the school
which they would ordinarily attend according to local board of education attendance policy. Provided,
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(1) If the magnet/specialty school offers the only activity in which the student elects to participate, the
student shall be required to participate as a member of the magnet/specialty school program in that
(2) Students at magnet/specialty schools may not participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at both
the magnet/specialty school and the school that the student would ordinarily attend. Those students
must elect to participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at only one school per school year. For
example, students could not play basketball at the magnet school and football at the home school.
(3) The election of the student to participate in GHSA extracurricular activities for either the
magnet/specialty school or the school the student would ordinarily attend shall be binding for the
current school year.
(4) Such students shall be required to comply with all GHSA eligibility and other rules. The member
school shall be required to provide to the GHSA a copy of the local board of education approval of
(5) The receiving school will submit students on an MT Eligibility Form. This form is available on the
GHSA web site (www.ghsa.net).
1.63 A “migrant student” is a student who transfers into a GHSA school without a bona fide move or without one
of the exceptions listed in by-law 1.62. The student may practice or compete at the sub-varsity level, but may
not compete at the varsity level for one calendar year from the date of his entry into the new school. In the
event that, after transfer, a student becomes or is later determined to be a migrant student, then the student
shall be ineligible to compete at the varsity level for a period of one calendar year from that date.
1.64 A student who is not eligible because of GHSA academic rules at the former school, and then transfers to a
new school, cannot regain eligibility by the transfer. Ineligible students cannot gain eligibility by being
adjudicated to YDC and subsequently returning to their resident school with earned credit.
1.65 Students whose transfers from member school to member school have been approved by the GHSA office
after the end of regular season play or during post-season play are not eligible for participation in GHSA
sponsored tournaments and/or playoffs in that particular sport for the school year of transfer.
1.66 A student who is not eligible at one school because of suspension or expulsion and then transfers to a
member school cannot regain eligibility by such a transfer, for the length of the suspension or one calendar
year, whichever is less.
1.67 A permissive transfer is defined as an allowance by a local board of education for students and/or their
parents to choose a school to attend without regard to the location of residence.
(a) A student transferring from member school to member school on a permissive transfer is considered a
(b) A student transferring to or from a school housing a system-wide, singular academic or vocation
program or a magnet program on a permissive transfer is considered a migrant student.
(1) The offering of an individual course or series of courses by one school in a system does not provide
inherent justification to grant GHSA eligibility.
(2) Special options offered by a school system that allow students to attend a school outside their area
of residence do not provide inherent justification to grant GHSA eligibility.
(3) Any such permissive transfer issue may be brought before the GHSA Hardship Committee.
(c) Students transferring under the provisions of Federal or State academic accountability regulations must
be processed through the normal hardship appeals process.
(d) When a military base is located in two school districts, a student moving onto the base for the first time
may choose to attend either school district, and that district will place the student appropriately. Any
transfer after the initial placement will be subject to standard eligibility regulations.
1.68 Hardship Applications may be filed by an administrator at a member school when a student does not meet
the standards of eligibility outlined in by-laws 1.50 (academic issues) and 1.60 (transfer issues).
(a) The GHSA Constitution (Art. IV; Sec. 5; Subsection B4) specifies that the hardship issues must be beyond
the reasonable control of the persons involved.
(b) The process of appealing a decision of the Hardship Committee is outlined in the GHSA Constitution
(Art. IV, Sec. 9, Subsection C & D).
(c) In order for a hardship appeal based on a financial hardship to be approved, the new school must provide
proof that the family attempted to address the financial problem at the previous school, and that the
need-based financial aid was non-existent or insufficient to resolve the problem. Increases in tuition or
other costs at a private school do not create an automatic reason to grant the appeal, because such fee
increases are considered foreseeable and not unavoidable. Documentation of the financial problem is
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1.69 When a new school opens, student eligibility shall be determined as follows:
(a) When a school district mandates a service area for a new school for all grades enrolled at the new school,
all students living within the mandated service area in those grades are immediately eligible. All students
living outside the mandated service area who desire to attend the new school are considered migrant
students and are ineligible for one year. Hardship appeals may be filed if conditions warrant.
(b) When a school district mandates some students to attend the new school, allows some students to stay
at their present school, and permits some students to transfer to the new school, the school shall set a
deadline for students living in the service area of the new school to decide whether they will move to the
new school, or stay at the present school. The decisions exercised at the deadline date are binding.
Subsequent changes render the student to be a migrant student with the one-year period of ineligibility.
Students who are granted permissive transfers to enroll at the new school from other schools within the
system are considered to be migrant students. Hardship appeals may be filed if conditions warrant.