Nearly 370 student-athletes earn GPA of 3.0 or higher

July 14, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- Nearly 370 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher during the 2008 spring semester to highlight another outstanding academic performance, Tim Curley, director of Athletics, reported Monday, July 14.

During the most recent semester, a total of 369 student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or above last semester. The 369 total represents 55 percent of the 677 young men and women who were members of Penn State's 29 varsity sports last spring.

Among the 369 Nittany Lion student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA, 164 earned a 3.50 grade point average or higher to gain Dean's List recognition. Dean's List students must complete a minimum of 12 credits in a semester.

Penn State's 29 varsity teams had an average GPA of 3.02 with 20 squads earning a team semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, according to Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. The cheerleaders and Lionettes dance team also posted team GPAs of 3.0 or better.

Two Nittany Lion student-athletes earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors last spring, giving Penn State six selections in 2007-08. Molly Crispell (swimming and diving) earned first team Academic All-America accolades and Max Lipsitz (men's volleyball) earned second team honors.

Penn State has had 135 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans all-time, the fourth-highest total in the nation, with 92 honorees in the last 14-plus years under Curley's leadership. Seventeen Nittany Lions have earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors the past three years.

"We are very pleased by the excellent academic achievements of our student-athletes," Curley said. "Our student-athletes consistently achieve at a high level. Their academic success is a credit to their outstanding work-ethic and dedication and to the encouragement they receive from our faculty, academic support personnel and coaches."

Penn State's student-athletes, who have captured 13 Big Ten Championships during the past three years and four NCAA titles the past two, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

-- Penn State student-athletes earned a record Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to a 77 percent average for all Division I-A institutions, according to NCAA data released last fall. Twenty-two of Penn State's 25 teams earned a GSR score above the national average (track and field and cross country are counted as one sport) and 21 teams had a GSR of 80 percent or better. Ten Penn State squads earned a GSR of 100 percent.

-- Among the 2000-01 entering freshman class, a record-tying 83 percent of Penn State student-athletes earned degrees within six years, compared to 63 percent for all Division I institutions, according to the NCAA.

-- Penn State's 82 percent four-year graduation rate was well above the national average of 62 percent for student-athletes. The four-year average was second highest in the Big Ten to Northwestern.

-- African-American student-athletes at Penn State continue to consistently graduate at much higher percentages than at other Division I-A institutions. A record 90 percent of African-American student-athletes that entered Penn State in 2000-01 graduated, far surpassing all Big Ten institutions and the national average, according to the NCAA. Northwestern was second in the conference at 69 percent and the national Division I average was 53 percent.

-- Penn State's four-year federal graduation rate for African-American student-athletes was 74 percent, marking the 17th consecutive year the Nittany Lions topped the Division I national average. At all Division I institutions in the NCAA compilation, the African-American four-year graduation percentile was 53 percent.

-- The University's African-American student-athlete GSR was 77 percent, again significantly above the Division I national GSR average of 61 percent. Penn State was second in the Big Ten (to Northwestern) in both the four-year federal and GSR figures among African-American student-athletes.

Of the Penn State student-athletes in the NCAA studies from 1991-92 through 2000-01 who exhausted their eligibility, 95 percent earned their diplomas.

-- A school record 261 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2007-08, eclipsing the previous record of 253. Penn State has 3,059 overall honorees during the past 14 years to lead all Big Ten institutions in academic all-conference recipients.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009