Student-athletes impress in the classroom during spring 2021 semester

July 27, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics’ students shined in the classroom yet again in the 2021 spring semester with all 31 Nittany Lion teams recording at least a 3.1 grade-point average (GPA). Overall, Penn State student-athletes had a 3.49 semester GPA during the spring term. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State utilized an alternative grading system.

The Nittany Lions had 107 students with a 4.0 semester GPA, 682 students (83%) with a 3.0 semester GPA and 299 Dean’s List honorees (3.5 semester GPA; 36.5%) in the spring. Of the 107 student-athletes with a 4.0 semester GPA, 15 carry a 4.0 cumulative GPA.

2021 spring semester notable numbers:

  • 3.49 semester grade-point average 
  • 3.35 cumulative GPA
  • 682 student-athletes with 3.0 semester GPA
  • 107 student-athletes with a 4.0 semester GPA
  • 299 student-athletes on Dean’s List (3.5 GPA with 12 credits)
  • 31 teams (of 31 total) with a 3.0 GPA or higher

“Our students collectively continue to amaze me each and every day. The last year and a half has presented one challenge after another, but our students have faced them head on, sought the support they needed and excelled under continuously difficult circumstances,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. “To have all 31 teams earn a 3.0 team semester GPA for the third-straight semester is remarkable, especially considering nearly all of our teams’ competitive seasons were during the spring semester. I take tremendous pride in how our students represent the Blue & White in competition and in the classroom. I’m appreciative of the priority our students, coaches and support staff place on academic success, and particularly want to acknowledge our Morgan Academic Center staff for their guidance of our students during the pandemic, keeping them on track and succeeding academically.” 

More than 500 Nittany Lion students earn at least 3.0 GPA for third-straight spring semester

Six hundred eighty-two Nittany Lion students posted a 3.0 GPA or higher during for the third-straight spring semester. The Nittany Lions had 505 students with a 3.0 GPA in the spring of 2019 and 694 students had a 3.0 GPA in the spring of 2020. In addition, Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported 299 student-athletes earned Dean’s List status by posting at least a 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits) during the spring semester. 

All 31 of Penn State’s squads posted a team GPA of 3.00 or higher. A total of 83 percent of 819 enrolled student-athletes during the spring earned a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Women’s soccer posts highest team GPA

The women’s soccer team recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State’s 31 programs during the spring with a 3.83 GPA, followed by the women’s lacrosse (3.72), women’s gymnastics (3.70) and women’s golf (3.67). Men’s hockey had the highest GPA among the men’s programs with a 3.60.

Student-athletes with 3.0 GPA or higher; Spring semester, 2017-21

  • Spring 2021 – 682*
  • Spring 2020 – 694*
  • Spring 2019 – 505 (spring record)
  • Spring 2018 – 487 
  • Spring 2017 – 495 

* - alternative grading used due to COVID-19 pandemic

Student-athletes earning Dean’s List honors; Spring semester, 2017-21

(3.5 GPA or higher; minimum 12 credits)

  • Spring 2021 – 299*
  • Spring 2020 – 426*
  • Spring 2019 – 245 (spring record)
  • Spring 2018 – 229 
  • Spring 2017 – 237 

* - alternative grading used due to COVID-19 pandemic

Penn State among the nation's most comprehensive and successful athletic programs

Under the leadership of Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour, 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). The Nittany Lions' 31 programs are tied for the fourth-highest number of sports sponsored by a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institution.

Penn State student-athletes have led the athletic department to 47 conference championships (36 Big Ten titles) and nine NCAA national championships since October 2013. The Nittany Lions have finished in the top 15 of the Learfield IMG College Director's Cup 19 times in the last 27 years (the Director’s Cup was not awarded in 2019-20).

Record-breaking NCAA graduation success rate

The 2020 NCAA's annual graduation rates study of in­stitutions across the nation revealed Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 92% to break the school's all-time record of 91%, which was previously set in the 2019 NCAA report. Nittany Lion students posted a 92% graduation rate compared to the 88% average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2010-11 through the 2013-14 academic year.

Penn State student-athletes have logged a Graduation Success Rate in the 88-92% range during each of the past 14 NCAA reports, improving from 88% in the 2015 report to a record-breaking 92% report in 2020. Nine Nittany Lion programs earned 100% graduation rates and 16 programs were above the national average for their sport.

Last Updated July 30, 2021