Penn State student-athletes continue to exceed national academic averages

April 20, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom and surpass Division I national averages, according to Academic Progress Rate (APR) data released today (April 20) by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The NCAA reported that 13 Penn State teams earned perfect APR scores of 1,000 in 2014-15, up from 10 the previous year. A total of 21 squads equaled or surpassed their multi-year (four-year) APR score from the 2015 report, also an increase of three from the previous year’s 18 teams.

Four Penn State squads earned perfect multi-year (2011-12 through 2014-15) APR scores of 1,000: women’s cross-country, women’s hockey, women’s soccer and women’s tennis.

"Penn State’s 800 student-athletes continue to make us proud with their superior performance in competition and in the classroom,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “These metrics are a testament to our student-athletes’ work ethic and intelligence, as well as a credit to the coaches, faculty and staff members who nurture and support academic achievement. This type of success is a team effort, and one I’m very pleased has been recognized at a national level.” 

“Penn State student-athletes consistently demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the classroom and all their academic endeavors,” said Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. “I am consistently amazed by, and appreciative of, their efforts to prove that academic achievement and athletic success can co-exist at a high level. Penn State’s point of difference is the level to which our student-athletes achieve academically while competing for championships. This achievement only comes as the result of a collective effort, and our coaches, Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and support staff all deserve our thanks for their contribution to these accomplishments.”

The 13 Nittany Lion teams that earned perfect APR scores in 2014-15 are: women’s cross-country, men’s fencing, women’s fencing, men’s golf, men’s gymnastics, women’s hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis, men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball and wrestling.

The Penn State women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling squads have all won NCAA Championships since December 2014.

Penn State’s next highest 2014-15 APR score was earned by the Penn State football team with a 993, improving its APR score for the third consecutive year. The Nittany Lions significantly improved from a 968 APR score in 2013-14 and boosted their multi-year APR score.

The NCAA released data through 2014-15 as the 11th set of APR results, a formula introduced as part of the Division I Academic Performance Program. The NCAA released sport specific data for 2014-15 to each institution, as well as the most recent four years of collected data that is used to determine a rolling four-year (multi-year) APR score for all athletic teams to provide a meaningful assessment of a team's academic performance.

The average multi-year APR score for Penn State's 29 varsity teams is 984, well above the Division I average of 979, according to the NCAA. All 29 squads have a multi-year APR score of 960 or higher (30 points above the NCAA’s 930 figure for possible penalties). The men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams are combined in the APR data, reducing the number of Penn State teams from 31 to 29 in the compilation.

The Penn State women’s tennis team has earned 10 multi-year 1,000 APR scores in the 11 years the NCAA has announced multi-year data. The field hockey squad has earned nine multi-year 1,000 APR scores, followed by women’s cross-country with seven and women’s golf with six.

Several Penn State teams ranked first or second among Big Ten Conference institutions in multi-year APR score, including: women’s cross-country (tied, first), men’s fencing (first), field hockey (tied, second), women’s hockey (first), women’s soccer (tied, first), men’s tennis (tied, second), women’s tennis (tied, first) and wrestling (second).

The NCAA's APR is designed to track the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship at a particular institution. It accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation each term to provide a clear measure of each team's academic performance.

The APR is based on four years of data, with the most current year's data added and the oldest year removed to create a four-year (multi-year) rolling rate. Penalties can be applied if an athletic team's multi-year APR score is below 930.

For more information on Penn State’s APR scores, visit

Last Updated May 20, 2016