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NCAA Releases Federal Graduation Rates

Oct. 25, 2012

Cullowhee, N.C. - Statistics for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) released Thursday by the NCAA indicated that 81-percent of freshmen student-athletes receiving scholarship aid at Western Carolina successfully graduate within six years. The GSR is based on student-athletes who entered college during the 2005-06 cohort.

The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) - which only looks at students entering school in the fall semester of the first year of the cohort - again from the 2005-06 cohort, is 61-percent, well above the general student population percentage at WCU which was reported at 50-percent. The FGR does not reflect are students who transfer into an institution or begin as freshman at midyear each January, while also penalizing institutions for students who, while in good academic standing, transfer to other schools.

WCU's programs all had a GSR of over 67-percent in the most recent report, while all but two were above the 50-percent mark in FGR for the 2005-06 cohort. Women's basketball was at 40-percent while men's basketball registered 0 percent in the report.

Looking only at students entering school in the fall semester, the WCU men's basketball program only brought in one first-year student in 2005. This student-athlete was injured during his freshman season and transferred out of Cullowhee, finishing his education and receiving his bachelor's degree at East Carolina.

In essence, when there is an entering fall freshman class of only one student-athlete, the program's FGR percentage will be either 100 percent or 0 percent. The FGR metric also penalizes institutions for students who, while in good academic standing, transfer to other schools which is what is reflected in the most recent FGR report concerning the Catamount men's basketball program.

Another metric that more accurately measures academic success is the Academic Progress Report (APR). This is a method that institutions and the NCAA utilizes to measure how well scholarship student-athletes on each team are progressing toward graduation. In essence, it allows departments to take a semester-by-semester snapshot of the up-to-the-minute eligibility of a student-athlete and answer if the student is returning to WCU for the next semester.

Currently, the minimum acceptable score is 930 out of 1000. With the most recent multi-year APR data will be officially released in May for our men's basketball program is an outstanding 990, with the most recent year of 2011-12 having a perfect 1000.

More about the FGR and GSR:
Two different measures of graduation rates are presented in the report delivered to NCAA institutions and to the public. One is the freshman cohort rate and the other is the Graduation Success Rate (GSR). The freshman-cohort rate indicates the percentage of freshmen who entered during a given academic year and graduated within the allotted six-year window. The GSU adds to the first-time freshmen, those students who entered midyear as well as student-athletes who transferred into an institution. In addition, the GSR will subtract from the entering cohort who are considered allowable exclusions, as well as those who would have been academically eligible to compete had they returned to the institution.