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Athletics Ranked Second In The Nation Among Public Institutions In Graduation Success Rate

By Scott Stapin, Athletic Media Relations
November 25, 2009

UNH ranks highest in the America East Conference, the Colonial Athletic Conference and second nationally among all public institutions, trailing only the U.S. Naval Academy, for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of its student athletes, according to numbers recently released by the NCAA.

 “Our number one priority is to recruit, retain and graduate high caliber student athletes,” said President Mark W. Huddleston. “Success in the classroom is as vital as success on the playing fields, courts and rinks at UNH.  Achieving the highest Graduation Success Rate among all of the land-grant institutions in the nation is a wonderful achievement, and a tribute to all who work with our student athletes, as well as to the student athletes themselves.”

Posting 100 percent GSRs for New Hampshire were men’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s skiing, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s cross country and track, women’s crew, field hockey, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, women’s skiing, women’s soccer, women’s swimming, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. Also performing well among their peers was football with a 95 percent mark.

“Of all of our accomplishments athletically, this may be the most significant,” said Athletic Director Marty Scarano. “For a land-grant institution to achieve this distinction there has to be a deep commitment to do all of the right things. It reflects well on the entire university and its dedication to student welfare, the hard work of our student athletes, coaches, and staff, and their daily approach to their endeavors.”

The “Chronicle of Higher Education” Top 10 Overall:
1. Notre Dame                         99 %
1. Colgate                                99
3. U.S. Naval Academy            98
4. New Hampshire                 97
4. Wofford College                   97
4. Northwestern University       97
4. Lafayette College                  97
4. Furman University              97
4. Duke University                    97
4. Davidson College                 97

America East GSR numbers school-by-school:
1. New Hampshire                 97 %
2. Boston University               94
3. Vermont                               91
4. Binghamton                          86
5. Hartford                               85
6. UMBC                                 85
7. Albany                                 76
8. Maine                                   76
9. Stony Brook                         68

Colonial Athletic Association numbers school-by-school:
1. New Hampshire                 97 %
2. William & Mary                    95
3. UNC-Wilmington                 90
4. James Madison                     84
5. Towson                                82
6. Delaware                              80
7. Hofstra                                 80
8. Northeastern                        78
9. George Mason                     75
10. VCU                                  73
11. Old Dominion                     71
12. Georgia State                     69

UNH also had the highest GSR rate (97 percent) among 54 different land-grant universities. The average GSR for America East was 84 percent, the average for the CAA was 80 percent and the average for land-grant universities was 74 percent.

The news was good in general throughout the country, as the NCAA reported that 79 percent of Division I freshman student athletes who entered college in 2002 earned their degrees, matching last year’s rate, and that the average GSR for the last four graduating classes is 79 percent, one percentage point higher than last year.

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student athletes. The rate holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The Graduation Success Rate also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport.

Under the calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. The outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution’s Graduation Success Rate cohort.

By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the Graduation Success Rate increases the total number of student athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student athletes. It is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.

The most recent Division I Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering freshmen classes from 1999-2000 through 2002-03. More than 102,000 student athletes are included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to slightly fewer than 75,000 counted in the federal rate.

This year marks the eighth year that Graduation Success Rate data have been collected. The NCAA began collecting GSR data with the entering freshman class of 1995. The latest entering class for which data are available is 2002.


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