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Athletics’ graduation success rate climbs

October 26, 2011

Northern Illinois Huskies logoNorthern Illinois Athletics ranks among the top universities in the Mid-American Conference, and has once again topped the national average in the Graduation Success Rate of its student-athletes, according to data released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

For the fourth straight year, Northern Illinois’ Graduation Success Rate (GSR) topped the 80 percent mark as the Huskies’ overall rate came in at 82 percent, two points above the four-class national average.

The GSR for Huskie male student-athletes who entered school between 2001 and 2004 was 76 percent, while the number for female NIU student-athletes during that time frame was 92 percent. Both figures rank above the national averages of 73 and 88 for male and female student-athletes, respectively.

Within the MAC, NIU’s overall GSR of 82 percent is tied for third with Ohio, behind Miami (Ohio) which leads the league with an 89 percent overall GSR, and Bowling Green, who came in at 84 percent. The Huskies’ football GSR for 2001-04 is 73 percent, which also ranks third in the league.

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes and has been using the measure for the last 10 years. The rate holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate and accounts for midyear enrollees.

Under the calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by 37 percent and thus the GSR is regarded as a more accurate measure of long-term success.

This year’s GSR is based on the four entering classes from 2001-2002 through 2004-05.

“Congratulations to everyone – from student-athletes to the staff of our Student-Athlete Academic Support Services unit, to our coaches, academic advisers and faculty throughout campus – for their efforts over the years which have resulted in these consistently high Graduation Success Rates for Northern Illinois student-athletes,” said Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics. “While we are pleased with this year’s GSR numbers, we remain committed to ensuring that this kind of success continues in the future.”

Eleven of Northern Illinois’ 15 programs (women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country are combined) have a GSR equal to or above the national average for their respective sports, including football and men’s basketball.

Four Huskie teams – men’s tennis, women’s basketball, women’s golf and women’s gymnastics – posted a perfect 100 GSR as those teams saw every freshmen and transfer student-athlete who entered NIU between 2001-04 graduate. Women’s soccer (91) and women’s cross country/track and field (93) also came in above 90 percent.

“Graduation remains the ultimate goal for every student-athlete we bring to Northern Illinois University,” Compher said. “In order to fulfill our mission of developing champions in the classroom, we want to see our results in these important indicators like the GSR and the Academic Progress Rate continue to improve for all of our sports programs.”

The complete Graduation Success Rate reports for all Division I schools, as well as the Federal Graduation Rate data, which compares student-athletes to the general student body, are available online.