Study: Penn State Athletes Graduating at Record Rate

STATE COLLEGE Pa.

Penn State athletes are earning their degrees at a record rate, according to data released Thursday by the university.

Of the athletes who entered Penn State in 2000-01, 83 percent earned degrees in six years, according to the data. That’s on par with the 85 percent for all Penn State students who entered that same year and well above the 63 percent for all Division I athletes.

The 83 percent federal graduation rate is tied for Penn State’s best performance in the 17 years the study has been done, the university said.

The football team had a graduation rate of 74 percent, second-highest in the Big Ten behind the 80 percent of Northwestern and 19 points higher than the Division I average.

Also included in the data released was the NCAA’s own look at academics, called Graduation Success Rates. The NCAA said the GSR is more accurate than the federal graduation rate because it includes athletes who transfer into a university and deletes those who transfer out.

The GSR also takes a four-year rolling average, with the latest data released compiled for athletes who entered between the 1997-98 and 2000-01 academic years.

Under that formula, Penn State’s latest graduation rate is 88 percent, 11 points higher than the Division I average. The GSR for blacks, men and women were well above the national average.

Overall, of the Penn State student-athletes in the NCAA studies from 1991-92 through 2000-01 who exhausted their eligibility, 95 percent left with their diplomas.

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