TOWSON, Md. - Towson University student-athletes continue to graduate at an impressive rate, according to the graduation rates released by the NCAA.
The NCAA released the Federal Graduation Rates for all institutions, as well as the Graduation Success Rate, an NCAA formula that accounts for transfers in and out of each program.
According to the federal numbers, the NCAA report revealed that student-athletes who entered Towson in the 2002-03 year graduated at a rate of 78 per cent, some 14 per cent higher than the national average (64%) for NCAA Division I student-athletes. The graduation rate is also 12 per cent higher than the general student body at Towson University.
Among the 12 institutions in the Colonial Athletic Association, Towson ranked second behind William & Mary (87%). UNC Wilmington (71%) is third.
The 12% difference between the graduation rates of the student-athletes and the student body was also second among CAA schools. Virginia Commonwealth has a 19% difference between student-athletes and the student body.
Towson University student-athletes ranked first among the Division I public institutions in the state of Maryland.
Among the eight NCAA Division I institutions in Maryland, Towson and Mount St. Mary's (78%) are tied for second behind Loyola (80%). UMBC (76%) ranks fourth, just ahead of Maryland Eastern Shore (75%) and the University of Maryland College Park (66%). The U.S. Naval Academy does not report its graduation rates.
Among the last four classes included in the report, Towson's student-athletes have a graduation rate of 74%. The Tigers' graduation rate over four years is 11% higher than the national average. It also 11% higher than the student body at Towson University.
Among schools in the CAA, the Tigers' four-class graduation rate is also second behind William & Mary (86%). Towson edged out James Madison (73%) and Delaware (72%).
"Towson has an outstanding history of academic achievement within the intercollegiate athletic program," says Mike Hermann, Towson's Director of Athletics. "This report verifies a very positive trend of academic success within our athletic program. The credit belongs to the student-athletes that have been able to balance the rigors of Division I competition with a demanding academic schedule. I salute our coaches and academic services staff for establishing a culture that fosters academic achievement. We are also very fortunate to have an outstanding relationship with the Towson University faculty, who provide outstanding classroom instruction and academic mentorship. Our faculty is willing to offer flexibility to the student-athletes so they can meet the demands of both areas."
Two of the Tigers' 20 intercollegiate athletic teams had a perfect 100% GSR. The Tiger field hockey team and the women's tennis team showed the way academically.
Four other teams had a GSR above 90%. The Tiger women's soccer team (94%), the Tiger gymnastics team (92%), the Tiger women's lacrosse team (91%) and the Tiger volleyball team (90%) also did well on the report.
The Graduation Success Rate was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The GSR also accounts for mid-year enrollees and is calculated for every sport.
Under the GSR calculation, institutions are not penalized for outgoing transfer students who leave in good academic standing. These outgoing transfers are essentially passed to the receiving institution's GSR cohort. By counting incoming transfer students and mid-year enrollees, the GSR increases the total number of student-athletes tracked for graduation by more than 37 per cent.
The NCAA also calculates the federal graduation rate for student-athletes because it is the only rate by which to compare student-athletes to the general student body.
There are almost 100,000 student-athletes included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to just over 72,000 counted in the federal rate.
This year marks the seventh year that GSR data have been collected. The NCAA began collecting GSR data with the entering freshman class of 1995.