A National Championship in Graduation Rates


The University of Notre Dame can once again claim the 2012 national championship for graduating its student-athletes in all sports, posting the top NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) figure (99) for its student-athletes for the sixth straight year.

The GSR number for all Notre Dame student-athletes rated the Irish first among the 120 football-playing institutions in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). The 2012 NCAA figures are based on entering classes from 2002 through 2005.

Whether measured by the federal government in its Department of Education report or by the NCAA through its GSR numbers, graduation rates for Notre Dame student-athletes once again rank either number one or among the handful of national leaders in five major categories among all major football-playing colleges and universities.

Notre Dame’s institutional research found that Irish student-athletes in 2012 rank number one in five of 10 major categories, ranking second in three others, and third in another. That’s based on the NCAA-issued GSR and federal figures.

For the fourth year in a row, Notre Dame leads the nation in four GSR categories: for all student-athletes (99), male student-athletes (98), female student-athletes (100), and football student-athletes (97). Notre Dame also ranks number one in the federal numbers for male student-athletes (89).

In calculations that include all student-athletes in all sports, Notre Dame ranks first among the FBS schools in the GSR figures, which were initiated in 2005 by the NCAA. The University's 99 percent GSR for all its student-athletes ranks just ahead of the 98 figure for Duke. Using the federal formula, Notre Dame graduated a four-year average of 91 percent of its student-athletes, just behind Stanford at 92.

In the GSR standings, the Irish led the way in four categories. In addition to its number-one ranking for all student-athletes (99), Notre Dame finished first among female student athletes at 100 (tied with Wake Forest), first among male student-athletes at 98 percent (ahead of Duke and Northwestern at 96), first among football players at 97 percent (tied with Northwestern), and second among black student-athletes at 98 percent (behind only Rice at 100).

Notre Dame graduated 94 percent of all women competing in varsity athletics, to rank second among its peer institutions based on the federal calculations (behind Stanford at 96). Among men, Notre Dame's 89 percent federal rate also was first, tied with Stanford. Notre Dame graduated 82 percent of its black student-athletes, ranking third based on the federal rate, and Irish football players graduated at an 83 percent rate, to rank sixth.

2012 NCAA Graduation Rates: All data for student-athletes who enrolled between 2002 and 2005 (numbers are percentages)

All Student-Athletes

1. Notre Dame, 99
2. Duke, 98
3. (tie) Boston College, Northwestern, 97
4. Stanford, 96
5. (tie) Rice, Wake Forest, 95
7. (tie) Miami (Fla.), U.S. Naval Academy, 93
9. (tie) Miami (Ohio), Vanderbilt, 91

Federal Rate
1. Stanford, 92
2. Notre Dame, 91
3. Northwestern, 88
4. Duke, 86
5. Rice, 83
6. Boston College, 82
7. Wake Forest, 80
8. Penn State, 78
9. (tie) Michigan, Virginia, 76

Male Student-Athletes
1. Notre Dame, 98
2. (tie) Duke, Northwestern, 96
4. Stanford, 95
5. Boston College, 94
6. (tie) Rice, Wake Forest, 93
8. U.S. Naval Academy, 92
9. Miami (Fla.), 91
10. U.S. Military Academy, 89

Federal Rate
1. (tie) Notre Dame, Stanford, 89
3. Northwestern, 87
4. Duke, 82
5. (tie) Rice, Wake Forest, 78
7. Boston College, 75
8. Penn State, 74
9. Miami (Ohio), 72
10. Syracuse, 71

Female Student-Athletes
1. (tie) Notre Dame, Wake Forest, 100
3. (tie) Boston College, Duke, 99
5. (tie) Northwestern, Rice, Stanford, U.S. Naval Academy, 98
9. Baylor, 97
10. (tie) Illinois, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Virginia Tech, 96

Federal Rate
1. Stanford, 96
2. Notre Dame, 94
3. Rice, 92
4. Duke, 91
5. Northwestern, 89
6. Boston College, 88
7. (tie) North Carolina, Virginia, 87
9. (tie) UCLA, Wake Forest, 85

Black Student-Athletes
1. Rice, 100
2. Notre Dame, 98
3. Duke, 92
4. (tie) Boston College, Miami (Fla.), 93
6. Northwestern, 92
7. Penn State, 90
8. Rutgers, 88
9. (tie) Stanford, Wake Forest, 86

Federal Rate
1. Rice, 95
2. Northwestern, 87
3. Notre Dame, 82
4. Stanford, 81
5. (tie) Duke, Nevada, Wake Forest, 76
8. Vanderbilt, 75
9. Penn State, 72
10. (tie) Boston College, Rutgers, San Diego State, 71

Football Student-Athletes
1. Notre Dame, Northwestern, 97
3. (tie) Boston College, Miami (Fla.), 94
5. Rice, 93
6. Duke, 92
7. (tie) Penn State, Rutgers, 91
9. Stanford, 90
10. U.S. Military Academy, 88

Federal Rate
1. (tie) Boston College, Northwestern, 90
3. Stanford, 87
4. Rice, 85
5. Penn State, 84
6. Notre Dame, 83
7. Duke, 80
8. Wake Forest, 78
9. TCU, 74
10. Rutgers, 73

Over the eight years of numbers from both the federal rates and the GSR, Notre Dame has had 80 possible rankings in the five categories (among the FBS institutions) and 40 times ranked first, 20 times ranked second, and seven times ranked third.

The federally mandated NCAA Graduation-Rates Report covers students who enrolled between 2002 and 2005 at all Division I institutions. The federal graduation rates are based on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non-graduates. All those receiving athletics aid are included in the statistics. All military academies are exempt from the federal survey because they do not offer grants-in-aid to student-athletes.

The GSR was created to more accurately reflect actual graduation rates by including transfer data in the calculation. College and university presidents asked the NCAA to develop a new methodology that takes into account the mobility among students in today's higher education environment. Research indicates that approximately 60 percent of all new bachelor's degree recipients are attending more than one undergraduate institution during their collegiate careers.

Notre Dame Alumni Association | Contact
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