© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. Results from experiments on DIII-D [J. L. Luxon, Fusion Sci. Technol. 48, 828 (2005)] aimed at developing high β steady-state operating scenarios with high- q min confirm that fast-ion transport is a critical issue for advanced tokamak development using neutral beam injection current drive. In DIII-D, greater than 11 MW of neutral beam heating power is applied with the intent of maximizing β N and the noninductive current drive. However, in scenarios with q min > 2 that target the typical range of q 95 = 5-7 used in next-step steady-state reactor models, Alfvén eigenmodes cause greater fast-ion transport than classical models predict. This enhanced transport reduces the absorbed neutral beam heating power and current drive and limits the achievable βN. In contrast, similar plasmas except with q min just above 1 have approximately classical fast-ion transport. Experiments that take q min > 3 plasmas to higher β P with q 95 = 11-12 for testing long pulse operation exhibit regimes of better than expected thermal confinement. Compared to the standard high- q min scenario, the high β P cases have shorter slowing-down time and lower ∇ β fast, and this reduces the drive for Alfvénic modes, yielding nearly classical fast-ion transport, high values of normalized confinement, β N, and noninductive current fraction. These results suggest DIII-D might obtain better performance in lower- q 95, high- q min plasmas using broader neutral beam heating profiles and increased direct electron heating power to lower the drive for Alfvén eigenmodes.