Student-athletes continue to make the grade

July 18, 2003

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State student-athletes continued their outstanding academic achievement during the 2003 spring semester, with more than 50 percent of active student-athletes again earning a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. 

For the semester recently concluded, 353 student-athletes had a GPA of 3.0 or above, an impressive and record-tying 54 percent of the 654 young men and women who were actively participating in Penn State's 29 varsity sports, according to Diana Kenepp, director of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. There are approximately 800 Penn State student-athletes, including those who are medically unable to participate or whose competitive eligibility has been exhausted but are working toward their degree.

Among the 353 student-athletes with at least a 3.0, 156 earned a 3.5 GPA or better to gain dean's list recognition.

At least 50 percent of the student-athletes on 24 of Penn State's 29 varsity teams earned a 3.0 or higher last semester. A record-setting 71.1 percent of female student-athletes earned a 3.0 or better.

"We are very pleased by the consistently outstanding academic performance by our student-athletes," said Tim Curley, director of athletics. "It is a credit to their work-ethic and to the encouragement they receive from our faculty, academic support personnel and coaches."

The efforts of Penn State's Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes again was reflected in the 2002 NCAA graduation rate report, which showed that 82 percent of Nittany Lion and Lady Lion student-athletes who began their careers in 1995-96 graduated within six years, well above the 60 percent national average. The 82 percent rate was Penn State's second-best performance in the 12-year history of the report, topped only by the 83 percent mark for the entering class of 1989-90.

Penn State's rate was tied with Virginia for the highest of any Division I public institution and was tied for eighth-best nationally among all Division I institutions. Northwestern (86 percent) was the only Big Ten institution with a higher student-athlete graduation rate than Penn State according to the 2002 report.

Penn State's four-year graduation rate average for student-athletes was 78 percent, also considerably higher than the 59 percent national average.

A school record 231 Penn State student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades during 2002-03. Penn State has led all Big Ten institutions in academic all-conference honorees six of the past seven years, accumulating 1,473 selections the past seven years, easily the most among the conference institutions. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner in at least their second academic year and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

Six Nittany and Lady Lion student-athletes were selected a Verizon Academic All-American in 2002-03, giving Penn State 65 such selections over the past 10 years and 104 total. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a letterwinner in at least their second academic year and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or better.

In March 2002, Penn State was one of only 10 NCAA Division I-A institutions selected for U.S. News and World Report's 2002 College Sports Honor Roll for academic and athletic achievement.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009