DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire ranks highest in the America East Conference, the Colonial Athletic Conference and second nationally among all public institutions, trailing only the U.S. Naval Academy, for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of its student athletes, according to numbers recently released by the NCAA.

 “Our number one priority is to recruit, retain and graduate high caliber student athletes,” said President Mark W. Huddleston. “Success in the classroom is as vital as success on the playing fields, courts and rinks at UNH.  Achieving the highest Graduation Success Rate among all of the land-grant institutions in the nation is a wonderful achievement, and a tribute to all who work with our student athletes, as well as to the student athletes themselves.”

Posting 100 percent GSRs for New Hampshire were men’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s skiing, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s cross country and track, women’s crew, field hockey, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, women’s skiing, women’s soccer, women’s swimming, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. Also performing well among its peers was football with a 95 percent mark.

“Of all of our accomplishments athletically, this may be the most significant,” said Athletic Director Marty Scarano. “For a land-grant institution to achieve this distinction there has to be a deep commitment to do all of the right things. It reflects well on the entire university and its dedication to student welfare, the hard work of our student athletes, coaches, and staff, and their daily approach to their endeavors.”

The “Chronicle of Higher Education” Top 10 Overall:
1. Notre Dame                99 %
1. Colgate                       99
3. U.S. Naval Academy     98
4. New Hampshire            97
4. Wofford                       97
4. Northwestern               97
4. Lafayette                     97
4. Furman                       97
4. Duke                           97
4. Davidson                     97

America East GSR numbers school-by-school:
1. New Hampshire            97 %
2. Boston University         94
3. Vermont                      91
4. Binghamton                 86
5. Hartford                      85
6. UMBC                          85
7. Albany                         76
8. Maine                          76
9. Stony Brook                 68

Colonial Athletic Association numbers school-by-school:
1. New Hampshire            97 %
2. William & Mary             95
3. UNC-Wilmington           90
4. James Madison             84
5. Towson                        82
6. Delaware                     80
7. Hofstra                        80
8. Northeastern               78
9. George Mason             75
10. VCU                          73
11. Old Dominion            71
12. Georgia State            69

UNH also had the highest GSR rate (97 percent) among 54 different land-grant universities. The average GSR for America East was 84 percent, the average for the CAA was 80 percent and the average for land-grant universities was 74 percent.

The news was good in general throughout the country, as the NCAA reported that 79 percent of Division I freshman student athletes who entered college in 2002 earned their degrees, matching last year’s rate, and that the average GSR for the last four graduating classes is 79 percent, one percentage point higher than last year.

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student athletes. The rate holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The Graduation Success Rate 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 essentially passed to the receiving institution’s Graduation Success Rate cohort.

By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the Graduation Success Rate increases the total number of student athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 percent. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student athletes. It is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.

The most recent Division I Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering freshmen classes from 1999-2000 through 2002-03. More than 102,000 student athletes are included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to slightly fewer than 75,000 counted in the federal rate.

This year marks the eighth year that Graduation Success Rate data 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 2002.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

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