Penn State student-athletes deliver record academic achievements during spring

July 16, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student-athletes continue to raise the bar in their academic excellence and achievements, shattering two overall and two semester school records during the 2019 spring semester.

Among the marks broken was a 3.17 grade-point average and 58 Nittany Lions earning a perfect 4.0 GPA during the spring semester.

“I’m so proud of these accomplishments and the efforts of the entire Penn State family that for decades have made academic excellence and achievement a priority,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. “As always, it starts with our students, who work every day to be better than the day before. But, these successes would not be possible without a consistent institutional will that includes campus leadership, Athletics leadership, coaches, faculty, staff and alumni. Our academic achievement is an extreme point of pride for our community and is a significant factor in fulfilling our mission of preparing students for a lifetime of impact.”

A spring semester school-record 505 Nittany Lion students posted a 3.0 GPA or higher during, eclipsing 500 for the first time. The previous highest spring total was 495 in 2017. The 505 high achievers are the fourth-highest overall semester total.

Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that a spring semester record 245 student-athletes garnered dean’s list accolades by posting at least a 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits) during the spring semester. The previous high during the spring was 237 in 2017.

The 3.17 grade-point average during the most recent semester broke the previous mark of 3.15, set during the 2018 spring semester and equaled last fall.

For the fourth consecutive semester, a record-tying 26 Penn State squads posted a team GPA of 3.0 or higher. A total of 65% of 773 enrolled student-athletes during the spring earned a 3.0 GPA or higher, one point away from the school record.

The 2018 Big Ten champion women’s soccer team recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State’s 31 programs during the spring, followed by the women’s tennis and women’s golf squads. Six squads posted a team GPA of 3.50 or higher this past semester.

Spring 2019 Athletics Academic Performance
IMAGE: Penn State Athletics

Student-athletes with 3.0 GPA or higher; spring semester, 2014-19

Spring 2019 – 505 (spring record)

Spring 2018 – 487

Spring 2017 – 495

Spring 2016 – 482

Spring 2015 – 474                 

Spring 2014 – 461                 

The number of Penn State student-athletes earning dean’s list honors (3.5 GPA) has increased 16.3% since the 2014 spring semester (205 to 245). The number of Nittany Lions posting at least a 3.0 GPA during the spring semester has increased 8.7% the past five years from 461 in 2014 to 505 in 2019.

Student-athletes earning dean’s list honors; spring semester, 2014-19

Spring 2019 – 245 (spring record)

Spring 2018 – 229

Spring 2017 – 237

Spring 2016 – 224

Spring 2015 – 221

Spring 2014 – 205

Ten highest semesters for number of 3.0 GPA students since fall 2014

Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the 10 highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA, including five semesters with at least 500 students posting a 3.0 GPA:

2014 fall (500); 2015 spring (474)

2015 fall (516); 2016 spring (482)

2016 fall (498); 2017 spring (495)

2017 fall (520); 2018 spring (487)

2018 fall (518); 2019 spring (505)

Penn State among the nation’s premier athletic programs in Comprehensive Excellence

Under the Barbour’s leadership, Penn State has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men’s, 15 women’s).

Nittany Lion students have posted an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 90% the past two years, which ties Penn State’ all-time high. Eight teams earned a 100% graduation rate in the 2018 NCAA Graduation Rates Report. The Nittany Lions rank No. 4 among all Division I schools with 205 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time and broke the school record with 368 Academic All-Big Ten honorees (3.0 GPA or higher) and 117 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (3.7 GPA or higher) during the 2018-19 academic year.

A semester school-record 135 Penn State students-athletes graduated in May, boosting the number of graduates in 2018-19 to a yearly record total of 169, with additional graduates to come in August.

Penn State’s 51 NCAA championships all-time (79 national championships overall) rank No. 5 among all NCAA Division I programs and are the highest total of any college or university east of the Mississippi River. Penn State’s 21 NCAA titles since 2007 are tied for No. 3 in the nation and lead all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 113 Big Ten championships or tournament titles since capturing their first crown in 1992-93, including six during the 2018-19 academic year.

Last Updated August 30, 2019