Boilermaker Academic Snapshot

Oct. 25, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue student-athletes are graduating at an improved rate that is just shy of their Division I counterparts, according to statistical information released today by the NCAA, and the gap could be closed over the next year.

The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide revealed that Purdue student-athletes on the West Lafayette campus earned a graduation success rate (GSR) of 78.4 percent, up from 77 percent a year ago and just shy of the continued record-high 80 percent average for all Division I student-athletes entering from 2002-03 through 2005-06. Analysis of the 2006-07 class suggests that Purdue's GSR will climb to 80 percent in the spring of 2013.

Purdue student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility presently graduate at a 90 percent rate.

Since 1990, the NCAA has annually released graduation rate information on its member institutions from data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2005, the NCAA Division I Committee on Academic Performance implemented the initial release of the GSR data.

The GSR provides a more inclusive calculation of student-athlete academic success. The NCAA rate is more accurate than the federally mandated methodology because it includes incoming transfers who receive athletic aid and graduate and deletes from the calculation student-athletes who leave an institution and were academically eligible to compete. The federal rate does neither. This change in metrics was the basis for the athletics department modifying its goal of joining the "25/75 Club" to the "25/85 Club" when its updated strategic plan was revealed in December of 2008.

There are nearly 88,000 student-athletes included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, compared with nearly 80,000 counted in the federal rate.

Purdue female student-athletes were particularly impressive, with a GSR of 90 percent, the same as a year ago and better than the 88 percent nationally. Purdue male student-athletes achieved a GSR of 71 percent, a one-year improvement of 2 percent and slightly below the 74 percent nationwide figure.

Purdue softball, men's and women's tennis and volleyball each had a 100 percent GSR. Five other of the Boilermakers' 16 programs (the GSR combines cross country and track and field) were equal to or better than their counterparts nationwide: baseball (79 percent vs. 73 percent), women's cross country/track and field (86 percent vs. 84 percent), women's soccer (90 percent vs. 89 percent), men's swimming and diving (89 percent vs. 85 percent) and wrestling (76 percent vs. 74 percent). Three additional programs were lower than their Division I counterparts but still at or above 80 percent: men's golf (80 percent vs. 82 percent), women's golf (89 percent vs. 90 percent) and women's swimming and diving (87 percent vs. 92 percent).

Football posted a 59 percent GSR (41 of 70) vs. a national figure of 68 percent, reflecting a graduation gap of 6.6 students over the four-year period or 1.65 per year. Men's basketball posted a 58 percent GSR (7 of 12) vs. a national figure of 68 percent, reflecting a graduation gap of 1.2 students over the four-year period or .3 per year. Women's basketball posted a 71 percent GSR (10 of 14) vs. a national figure of 84 percent, reflecting a graduation gap of 1.76 students over the four-year period or .4 per year.

According to the federal rate, Purdue student-athletes graduated at a 69 percent clip (a 1 percent improvement from a year ago), the same as all Purdue students and better than the 64 percent figure for all Division I student-athletes. The federal rate cohort accounts for all freshmen student-athletes who receive athletics aid and enter during the fall semester. The federal graduation rate calculation is a snapshot of that same cohort six years later. For example, if 100 scholarship student-athletes entered in the fall of 2006, those same 100 would be tracked to see if they graduated by the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes with the general student body.

Neither the federal graduation rate nor the graduation success rate should be confused with the academic progress rate (APR), which is a real-time calculation of academic progress for all student-athletes receiving financial aid. Based on data recently submitted to the NCAA - which will be released later this academic year - all Boilermaker teams have posted APR's of 942 (out of 1,000) or higher, above the new 930 Academic cutoff for the second straight year. Specifically, football posted a 953, up from 930 three years ago, men's basketball posted a 995 up from 919 three years ago and women's basketball posted a 977 up from 964 three years ago. The most recent scores cover the 2008-09 through 2011-12 academic years and further support the projected improvement in the GSR.

Additionally, at the conclusion of the spring 2012 semester, Purdue student-athletes had continued to maintain better than a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average (3.01) for the fifth consecutive year and had performed better than the student body for 30 consecutive semesters - or 15 years.

The Boilermaker women's cross country and women's tennis teams shared the 2011-12 President's Cup Award for the program(s) with the highest GPA's during the spring semester at 3.49 and 3.45. The volleyball squad was the winner of the Provost's Award for the program with the most improved GPA from the previous semester.

Some 227 Purdue student-athletes had a 2012 spring semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, with 128 achieving academic honors - 78 Dean's List and Semester Honors, 40 Semester Honors and 10 Dean's List - including 28 with 4.0 marks.