UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State student-athletes continue to register record-breaking graduation rates and perform well above their peers nationwide. The Nittany Lions recorded a fifth consecutive record-tying or record-breaking academic performance with a 92% graduation success rate, according to data reported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
The NCAA's annual graduation rates report of Division I institutions across the nation revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 92% to tie the school's all-time record of 92, which was previously set in the 2020 NCAA report. Nittany Lion students posted a 92% graduation rate compared to the 89% average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2011-12 through the 2014-15 academic year.
Penn State student-athletes have logged a Graduation Success Rate in the 88-92% range during each of the past 15 NCAA reports, improving from 88% in the 2015 report to a record-breaking 92% report in 2020 and 2021.
Sixteen of the Nittany Lions' 27 teams (men's and women's track and field/cross country teams combined) earned a Graduation Success Rate at or above the Division I national GSR average for their respective sport. A total of 18 Penn State squads have a GSR of 90% or higher.
"I'm very proud of the student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff who have worked hard to ensure that our student-athletes earn degrees as well as accolades in competition," said Penn State President Eric Barron. "Year after year, the Nittany Lions have raised the bar for the NCAA Graduation Success Rate, and our student-athletes have gone on to successful careers in engineering, business, government, law, education and countless other professions—including professional sports. Congratulations on this impressive achievement."
"Penn State has always prided itself on being competitive in the classroom to go along with our athletic success," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. "This commitment to comprehensive excellence is apparent again in this year's graduation success rate report. We have had a record graduation rate for the fifth consecutive year and have 10 teams with a perfect 100%. Our teams are performing well above the national average in numerous sports. The ability for our students, coaches and staff to balance the rigors of academic achievement, athletic success and community service is second to none."
Ten Teams Post 100% GSR Scores; Field Hockey and Women's Tennis Perfect for 17th Consecutive Year; Total of 18 Squads at 90% or Higher
The NCAA data revealed student-athletes from 10 Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100%, while an additional eight teams posted a graduation rate of 90% or higher, for a total of 18 teams at or above 90%.
The 10 Nittany Lion squads posting 100% Graduation Success Rate scores were: women's fencing, field hockey, men's golf, women's golf, women's hockey, women's swimming & diving, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's volleyball and wrestling.
The field hockey and women's tennis teams earned a 100% GSR for the 17th consecutive year - every year since the NCAA implemented the release of Graduation Success Rate data in 2005. The women's golf squad posted a 100% GSR for the sixth-straight year and the women's hockey teams had a perfect GSR score for the fifth consecutive year that they've been eligible.
Wrestlers Earn 100% Graduation Success Rate – 18 Points Above Division I Wrestling Average
The wrestling squad, which has won eight of the past 10 NCAA Championships, delivered its third-straight 100% GSR, which is 18 points higher than the Division I wrestling average.
Eight Nittany Lion squads improved their four-year GSR score from last year's NCAA Graduation report, led by the women's fencing (+12), men's golf (+11), men's volleyball (+8), women's volleyball (+7), men's fencing (+4), football (+2), men's hockey (+1), softball (+1) teams.
Sixteen Penn State Squads at or Above National GSR Sport Average
Among the 16 Nittany Lion teams at or above the Division I sport average, 11 squads posted Graduation Success Rates that were at least four points higher than the national average for their sport:
Wrestling - 100% to 82 (+18)
Men's Golf - 100 to 91 (+9)
Football - 87 to 80 (+7)
Men's Tennis - 100 to 93 (+7)
Women's Volleyball - 100 to 94 (+6)
Women's Track & Cross Country - 96 to 91 (+5)
Baseball - 90 to 86 (+4)
Women's Golf - 100 to 96 (+4)
Field Hockey - 100 to 96 (+4)
Women's Swimming & Diving - 100 to 96 (+4)
Women's Tennis - 100 to 96 (+4)
In addition, 18 programs turned in a graduation success rate at or above the overall Division I national average of 89 percent.
Football Programs Continue to Exceed National Average
For the 12th consecutive year, the Penn State football team (87%) earned a four-year Graduation Success Rate higher than the football national average (80%).
This is the 31st annual release of institutional graduation rates since national "right-to-know" legislation was passed in 1990. In 2005, the NCAA Division I Committee on Academic Performance implemented the initial release of the team GSR data.
The GSR is the NCAA's more inclusive calculation of academic success among scholarship student-athletes. The NCAA rate is more accurate than the federally mandated methodology because it includes incoming transfers and students enrolling in the spring semester 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.