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NCAA Released Graduation Success Rates This Week

Nov. 17, 2016

Cullowhee, N.C. - Statistics for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) released Tuesday by the NCAA indicated that 81-percent of student-athletes receiving financial scholarship aid at Western Carolina University successfully graduate. The GSR, a NCAA metric, is based on the 2006-09 cohort which allots six years for student-athletes to graduate.

Two Catamount programs – women’s soccer and women’s tennis – had a perfect 100 in the Graduation Success Rate with four – baseball, men’s golf, softball, and volleyball – posting 90-or-better. It is the 11th-consecutive year that the Catamount women’s tennis program has scored 100 in the GSR while football, baseball, and softball each scored their highest on the GSR in six years.

Western Carolina's athletic programs all had over 68-percent GSR in the most recent report, while all but four were above the 50-percent mark in federal rate for the 2006-09 cohort. All told, WCU had an 81-percent graduation success rate of student-athletes on athletic aid.

Also released on Tuesday were the Federal Graduation Rate (FGR), which only looks at students entering school as a freshman in the fall semester of the first year of the cohort, in this case from the fall of 2009. FGR measures the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen who graduate within six years of entering their original four-year institution. The FGR does not reflect students who transfer into an institution or begin as freshmen at midyear each January, while also penalizing institutions for students who, while in good academic standing, transfer to other schools.

Collectively, WCU had a single-year (2009-10) Federal Graduation Rate of 64-percent, a mark above that of the general student population of 57-percent.

The Southern Conference placed among the top half of Division I in the NCAA Graduation Success Rate scores that were released as SoCon teams combined for a GSR of 87, tied for 12th among the 31 NCAA Division I conferences. SoCon football programs tied for second in the country with a combined GSR of 85, up two points from last year.

Six of eight SoCon men’s sports beat or tied the national average, while six of seven women’s teams did so.

All 10 Southern Conference member schools had at least one program with a 100-percent GSR for the 2006-09 cohorts. Additionally, nine of the league’s 10 schools had multiple programs report a perfect score. The Southern Conference GSR for the 2006-09 cohorts met or exceeded the Division I GSR in 12 different sports (baseball, men’s basketball, men’s cross country and track, football, men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s cross country and track, women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball and women’s tennis).

Developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative, the GSR is used to assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR measures graduation rates at Division I institutions and includes students transferring into the institutions. The GSR also allows schools to subtract student-athletes who leave their institutions prior to graduation as long as they would have been academically eligible to compete had they remained.

The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately measure the success of Division I student-athletes.

• The GSR takes into account the many different academic paths followed by today's college students;

• Unlike the federal graduation rate, the GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport;

• By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by approximately 37 percent;

• 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;

• The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes, because it is the only rate to compare student-athletes to the general student body;

• This year marks the 15th year of GSR data that 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 2009.