Updated: October 27, 2012 12:10 pm (ET)
by America East Communications
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — America East student-athletes rank among the best in the country in Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data released by the NCAA Thursday afternoon. Furthermore, the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball programs specifically graduate at a higher rate than the rest of the nation.
America East is seventh among 31 Division I conferences in one-year GSR (student-athletes who began school in 2005), a two-spot improvement from last year, as 85 percent received degrees within six years of enrollment. That rate that is four points higher than the national average of 81 percent. Additionally, America East’s overall GSR, measuring graduation rates for student-athletes entering school over a four-year period (2002-05), ranks eighth nationally with an 84-percent rate, which is four points higher than the national average of 80 percent.
“We are extremely pleased, but not surprised, that our conference GSR ranks among the best in the country,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “This success is a testament to the value our student-athletes place on their education, as well as our institutions’ commitment to preparing its student-athletes to thrive after college.”
The conference’s men’s basketball student-athletes who entered school in 2005 graduated at an 89 percent rate, which is tied for third among the 31 Division I conferences, and is 24 points higher than the league’s one-year rate a year ago and 15 points higher than the national average. America East men’s basketball student-athletes who entered school from 2002-2005 graduated at an 80 percent clip, the third-best mark in the country, and 12 points higher than the average. The women’s overall rate of 89 percent ranks among the country’s top 30 percent and is five points above the national average, while the one-year rate is 86 percent, three points above the national rate.
Eight of nine America East institutions came in above the national average with four schools ranking among the top-25 percent of all 340 Division I schools. Boston University (94 GSR) is tied for 27th, University of Vermont (93), is tied for 41st, University of New Hampshire (88) is tied for 79th and University of Hartford (87) its tied for 85th. Additionally, 29 America East programs achieved perfect scores of 100 while another 22 programs scored 90 or better.
“The America East brand is centered around preparing its student-athletes to succeed in life after college and the GSR is the latest metric that shows we are among the best conferences in the country in doing so,” said Huchthausen.
The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately measure the academic success of Division I student-athletes by better accounting for the many different academic paths followed by today’s college students.
University of Hartford President Walt Harrison, chair of the Division I Committee on Academic Performance, noted the important progress in academic achievement by student-athletes over time.
Harrison said there are 1,600 more student-athlete graduates from the most recent cohort compared to 1995 had the GSR stayed constant.
“This represents real lives impacted in a positive way,” Harrison said. “I am impressed with the increasing focus on academics on our campuses nationally. Indeed, we have moved from academic reform to expectation.”
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. The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes, because it is the only rate 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 2001-02 through 2004-05. Nearly 105,000 student-athletes are included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to about 76,500 in the federal rate. This year marks the tenth year of GSR data that 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 2005.
About the America East Conference
Now in its fourth decade of operation, the America East Conference has evolved into one of the most comprehensive NCAA Division I conferences in the country with a commitment to broad-based, competitive athletics programs, complementing the academic integrity and missions of the member institutions. Progressive in its approach to its more than 3,400 student-athletes, America East recognizes champions in each of its 20 sports. America East also conducts the nation’s most comprehensive academic recognition program for student-athletes and collaborates on several community service initiatives throughout its geographic footprint each year. With members spanning from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast regions of the United States, America East strives to develop champions in academics, athletics and leadership at its nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.