Press release from University of Arkansas:
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas student-athletes that entered school in a four-year period from 2003-06 earned a school record graduation success rate (GSR) of 74 percent according to a report released on Thursday by the NCAA. The latest graduation success rate marked the fifth-consecutive rate of more than 70 percent by Razorback student-athletes and the highest since the GSR was introduced in 1998.
The graduation success rate was developed as an improved measurement tool for tracking student-athletes’ academic progress leading toward graduation. The University of Arkansas has steadily improved its graduation success rate since the measurement was implemented nine years ago rising from an initial rate of 60 percent to 74 percent in the numbers released on Thursday. The previous best GSR recorded by the University of Arkansas was 73 percent, recorded by freshmen student-athletes initially enrolled in 2004.
“We are pleased that this year’s GSR reflects the sustained progress our program is making in the graduation of student-athletes,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “For the fifth-consecutive year, we have earned a GSR exceeding 70 percent including this year’s record mark of 74 percent. While we have made substantial progress, we must continue to effectively equip our more than 460 Razorback student-athletes with the support and resources they need to earn their degree.
“The Student-Athlete Success Center will play an integral part in our continued success and more importantly in the future of the young men and women in our program. When fully funded and completed, the comprehensive facility will allow us to more efficiently and effectively prepare all Razorback student-athletes to reach the goal we have for each and every one of our student-athletes - graduation.”
The GSR for all NCAA institutions was released on Thursday as well as the six-year Federal Graduation rate for each institution. The GSR was established to more accurately gauge academic progress among student-athletes. Traditional federal graduation rates do not account for transfers or other student-athletes that leave institutions in good academic standing.
The most recent federal graduation rate for the University of Arkansas, 49 percent, is based on scholarship student-athletes that enrolled full time in 2006. That marks a six percentage point improvement from the institution’s initial federal graduation rate. The overall student rate at the University of Arkansas was 60 percent in the latest reporting period, the highest rate in the past eight years.
In addition to graduation success rate and federal six-year graduation rates, the NCAA established the Academic Progress Rate (APR) that provides institutions with a more real-time indicator of academic success. Last summer, Arkansas exceeded the APR benchmark in all 19 sports for the first time in school history. In 2012-13, a total of 94 current or former Razorback student-athletes earned their college degrees from the University of Arkansas.
“While we are seeing progress in both the GSR and Federal graduation rate data, it does not yet provide a true reflection of the progress we have made as a combined department,” Long said. “We are confident that in the coming years we will see the long-term positive results that other real time measurements have already indicated. Last year, for the first time, all 19 of our sports exceeded the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) benchmark. In addition, Razorback student-athletes posted a record grade point average of 3.09.
“As an institution, we are already seeing the results of a student body which is expanding in numbers and in academic achievement. As we continue to progress within Razorback Athletics, we will work toward our goal of meeting the rates of the overall student population and further contributing to the increasing academic reputation of the University of Arkansas.”