Cats tops in grad rate

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern has scored a 97 percent overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in the latest data released by the NCAA today (Oct. 24), a figure which leads the Big Ten by seven percentage points and ranks among the best scores nationally.
Northwestern football, specifically, also earned a 97 percent GSR for the current cohort, which is the best score in the nation among FBS programs by one percentage point. Last year NU also had a 97 percent GSR and shared the top score among its FBS brethren.
Twelve of NU's 19 varsity sports have perfect 100 percent GSR's for the most recent cohort, which measures incoming freshman classes from 2003-06. Men's golf, men's soccer, men's tennis, wrestling, women's fencing, field hockey, women's golf, women's lacrosse, women's swimming, women's tennis, women's cross country and volleyball achieved those perfect scores for the `Cats.
The Wildcats' wrestling team was the lone B1G wrestling program and one of just five nationally to earn a perfect 100 percent GSR for this cohort while NU men's soccer also stood alone among the Big Ten with a 100 perfect score. Northwestern women's cross country was one of two Big Ten programs along with Minnesota with a 100 percent tally.
"We continue to be proud of our student-athletes and the effort they put forth in the classroom that makes us a leader among our peers," Northwestern Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips said. "We are especially proud of our football program for once again leading the nation in graduation rate data."
The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) to more accurately assess the long-term academic success of student-athletes. The rate holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport. Under the calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. The outgoing transfers are included in the receiving institution's GSR cohort.
The GSR allows student-athletes six years to earn their degree. This year's rate is based on student-athletes who entered college in the fall of 2006, the most recent data available. The rate shows the percentage of those student-athletes who earned a degree by the spring of 2012. The four-year cohort of student-athletes who began college in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 is also included. This marks the 12th year GSR data has been collected.