DURHAM, N.H.-- In the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rates announced on Tuesday, Division I student-athletes are graduating at the highest rates ever, and 37 America East teams received perfect scores. The Wildcats had eight America East-sponsored sports graduating at a 100 percent rate and 15 overall, including men's ice hockey, women's skiing, and women's gymnastics.  UNH's competing America East sports with 100 percent ratings included: men's basketball, men's soccer, women's cross country and track and field, field hockey, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving and volleyball. In addition, UNH football posted an impressive mark of 93 percent.

Boston University led the conference with nine of its America East-sponsored sports graduating at a 100% rate, while eight of University of New Hampshire squads and seven of University of Vermont's earned the same status in the report.

The following teams were recognized Tuesday with 100% graduation success: University at Albany women's basketball, women's golf, women's lacrosse, women's tennis and volleyball; Boston University's men's basketball, men's swimming and diving, women's basketball, field hockey, women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women's swimming and diving and women's tennis; University of Hartford's men's soccer, women's cross country and track and field, women's golf and volleyball; University of Maine's men's swimming and diving and women's basketball; UMBC's men's lacrosse and men's tennis;

“This is a testament to the student-athletes in America East Conference and to our athletic directors who put an emphasis on academics within their departments," said America East Commissioner Patrick Nero.

Our student-athletes realize the true value of having a college degree and what outstanding opportunities may be available to them after having graduated from any one of our nine institutions. I could not be more proud of the success these young adults have found.”

The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for midyear enrollees and is calculated for every sport.

The most recent GSR data show that 79 percent of Division I freshmen student-athletes who entered college in 2001 earned their four-year degrees. The average Graduation Success Rate for the last four graduating classes is 78 percent. Both rates are up one percentage point from last year.

Even when calculating graduation rates using the federal government’s methodology, which does not count transfer students, Division I student-athletes graduated at 64 percent, the highest federal rate ever. This rate is two percentage points higher than the general student body, two percentage points higher than last year and up four percentage points over the past seven years.

NCAA President Myles Brand praised the latest figures, citing increased initial-eligibility standards and an overall emphasis on academics, including the development of the Academic Progress Rate for each Division I sports team, as key factors contributing to student-athlete success.

“Nearly eight out of 10 Division I student-athletes are finishing college and earning their degrees. This is extremely good news,” Brand said. “We still have work to do and can’t declare victory just yet, but the trend lines are moving in the right direction.”

Brand said approximately 4,000 additional student-athletes graduated from Division I colleges over the past six years because of increased graduation rates. Another 7,000 additional student-athletes who started college between 1996 and 2001 earned degrees because of increased enrollment and growth in Division I membership.

Other NCAA research has shown that nearly 90 percent of student-athletes had earned their college degree 10 years after starting college. The calculations for the GSR and federal rate both limit time to graduation to six years from initial collegiate enrollment.

“The ultimate success is in the changed lives of student-athletes,” Brand said. “The so-called 'dumb jock’ myth is just that--a myth.”

Under the GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing.  These outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution’s GSR cohort.

By counting incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees, the GSR 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, because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.

The most recent Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering freshmen classes in Division I from 1998-99 through 2001-02. There are almost 100,000 student-athletes included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to just over 72,000 counted in the federal rate.

This year marks the seventh year that GSR 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 2001.

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