Tiger student-athletes earn high graduation rate from NCAA report

Rates continue to improve; TU ranked second among Maryland's seven Division I schools

TOWSON, Md. (Oct. 28, 2008)—–TU student-athletes continue to graduate at an impressive rate, according to the graduation rates released earlier this month by the NCAA. The NCAA released the federal graduation rates for all institutions, as well as the Graduation Success Rate, an NCAA formula that accounts for transfers in and out of each program.

According to the federal numbers, the NCAA report revealed that student-athletes who entered TU in the 2001-02 year graduated at a rate of 77 percent, some 13 percent higher than the national average (64 percent) and 11 percent higher than its student body (66 percent).

This reporting period marks the third consecutive year of improvement for TU student-athletes. The entering class of 1999-2000 graduated at a rate of 69 percent, while the 2000-01 class had a graduation rate of 73 percent.

“Towson has a great culture of academic achievement among its student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Mike Hermann. “We are fortunate that the faculty, staff and coaches work in partnership to provide opportunities for our student-athletes to be successful in the classroom, as well as the playing field. In the end, the student-athletes deserve the credit for graduating at such noteworthy rates.”

The federal graduation rate of TU student-athletes ranks near the top when compared to the seven other NCAA Division I schools in the state of Maryland. The Tigers’ 77 percent ranked second in the state, just behind Loyola College (79 percent). Mount St. Mary’s (76 percent) was third. It should be noted that the Naval Academy was excluded from this portion of the study because it does not offer athletics aid, which is the definition of student-athletes in this study. Therefore, it does not have a federal graduation rate for student-athletes.

TU’s graduation rate ranks third among the 12 academically minded institutions in the Colonial Athletic Association. Towson’s 77 percent graduation rate is topped only by William & Mary (86 percent) and James Madison (80 percent). Delaware (75 percent) and Drexel (73 percent) are ranked behind Towson.

The NCAA report also included the federal graduation average for the last four classes. During that time, TU graduated 71 percent of its 286 athletes. That graduation rate is well ahead of the national average (63 percent) and the graduation rate of the TU student body (62 percent) for the four-year period.

According to the GSR measure of student-athletes that enrolled from 1998-2001, TU graduated 85 percent of its student-athletes, which is seven percent higher than the national average (78 percent). TU’s GSR was tied for fourth in the CAA, behind William & Mary (95 percent), North Carolina Wilmington (90 percent) and Delaware (87 percent). The Tiger student-athletes graduated at the same rate as James Madison (85 percent) and just ahead of Northeastern (81 percent) and Drexel (80 percent).

Four of the Tigers’ 20 intercollegiate athletic teams had a perfect 100 percent GSR. The Tiger women’s basketball team, field hockey team, tennis team and volleyball team had 100 percent GSR’s during the four-year period from 1998-2001. In addition, the men’s golf team had an 88 percent GSR, while the men’s swimming and diving team had an 80 percent GSR. The Tiger football team had a 75 percent GSR, just below the athletic program average, while the men’s basketball team earned a 71 percent GSR.

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

Under the GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and mid-year enrollees, the GSR 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, because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.

There are almost 100,000 student-athletes included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to just over 72,000 counted in the federal rate.

This year marks the sixth year that GSR data have been collected. The NCAA began collecting GSR data with the entering freshman class of 1995.





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