Record 24 teams, nearly 500 student-athletes earn 3.0 GPA during fall semester

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Bolstered by nearly 500 student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average, a school record 24 Penn State teams delivered a combined GPA of 3.0 or higher during the 2016 fall semester. The Nittany Lions have achieved the five highest semesters all-time for the number of students with at least a 3.0 GPA over the past five semesters.

The 24 teams with a combined 3.0 semester GPA eclipsed the previous school mark of 23 squads from the 2014 and 2015 fall semesters. Women's tennis recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State's 31 programs last fall.

Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that 498 Nittany Lion student-athletes posted a 3.0 GPA or higher last fall. The 498 student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 GPA represent 61 percent of Penn State's 810 student-athletes enrolled during the fall semester.

Among the 498 student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 GPA, 223 posted a GPA of 3.50 or higher to earn Dean's List recognition.

For the second consecutive fall semester, the combined average GPA was 3.11 among the students who participate on Penn State's 31 varsity programs.

"This excellent academic performance is a testament to the effort our talented student-athletes direct towards their academic pursuits, the priority placed on academic achievement by our coaches, and the support they receive from our dedicated Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and administration," said Sandy Barbour, director of Athletics. "Every day, we are striving for comprehensive excellence across all aspects of ICA and preparing our students for a lifetime of impact. These results make our alumni and donors who have invested mightily in that premise very proud."

Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the five highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA: 2014 fall (500); 2015 spring (474); 2015 fall (516); 2016 spring (482); 2016 fall (498).

The number of student-athletes posting at least a 3.0 GPA during the fall semester has increased 7.0 percent the past four years from 463 in 2012 to 498 in 2016.

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 28 Big Ten championships and seven NCAA titles since the Fall 2012 semester, consistently are among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees and academic achievement. A sampling of recent academic accomplishments includes:

In November, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to the 84 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2006-07 through the 2009-10 academic year. The 89 percent graduation figure was just one point off Penn State's 90 percent all-time graduation record mark and one point higher than last year's figure.

The NCAA data revealed student-athletes from seven Penn State squads earned a Graduation Success Rate of 100 percent, an increase of two from last year's five teams. The seven Nittany Lion squads posting perfect graduation scores were: men's basketball, field hockey, women's golf, women's gymnastics, men's soccer, softball and women's tennis.

  • The NCAA also released in November the federal graduation rates for students and student-athletes as it has for the past 26 years. The four-year federal graduation rate average for Penn State student-athletes was 78 percent, No. 3 among Big Ten institutions, and significantly above the 66 percent Division I average.
  • Twenty-eight Penn State student-athletes from 11 sports earned their degrees in December 2016, bringing the total number of graduates to 153 since last May.
  • Penn State leads all Big Ten institutions with 5,654 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports. Ohio State is second with 5,574 over the past 25 years. The Nittany Lions had 78 Academic All-Big Ten honorees among seven fall sports last semester and their 299 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2015-16 were a school record.
  • Two Penn State student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors last fall. Nittany Lions football's Tyler Yazujian was selected a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and women's volleyball standout Haleigh Washington was selected to the third team. Both earned their second career CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition.
  • Penn State has had 195 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, which ranks fifth among all NCAA institutions and fourth among Division I schools.
Last Updated February 17, 2017