Nearly 400 Student-Athletes Earn 3.0 GPA During Spring Semester

UNIVERSITY PARK – Nearly 400 Penn State student-athletes earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher during the spring semester, highlighting a stellar semester and punctuating an outstanding 2011-12 academic year.

During the past semester, 391 student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.0 or above, which accounts for 58 percent of Penn State’s student-athletes enrolled during the spring semester.

A total of 172 of Penn State student-athletes earned Dean’s List honors during the spring by posting a GPA of 3.50 or higher. A minimum 12 credits are required for Dean’s List recognition.

The efforts of the student-athletes resulted in a combined average GPA of 3.07 during the spring for all of Penn State’s 29 varsity sports (31 sports in 2012-13 with the addition of men’s and women’s hockey).

A total of 108 Penn State student-athletes from 15 spring and at-large sports earned Academic All-Big Ten honors (3.0 GPA or higher), giving the Nittany Lions 240 academic all-conference honorees in 2011-12. Penn State has had 4,024 Academic All-Big Ten honorees during the 18 years of the program.

“I am very proud of our student-athletes and coaches for their continued dedication to academic achievement and its proper place at the forefront of the Penn State student experience. The credit belongs to the student-athletes, coaches, professors and Morgan Center staff for this significant academic performance from the spring semester, our high graduation rates and many academic successes,” said David Joyner, acting director of Athletics.

“I am so very proud of and inspired by our student-athletes,” said Linda Caldwell, Penn State’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. “Their academic performance this year, as well as in the past, demonstrates that they are truly student-athletes. This high level of academic success is not only due to the academic abilities, time management and dedication of the student-athletes, but also to the support and collective effort on the part of the staff of the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes, the work of the Faculty Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, professors, and administrators and coaches in Intercollegiate Athletics.”

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 32 Big Ten Championships during the past seven years and are tied for a nation’s-best 11 NCAA titles since March 2007, consistently have been among the nation’s most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

— The NCAA’s annual study of institutions nationwide in October 2011 revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 80 percent average for all Division I institutions. The 88 percent figure was third-highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.

— The NCAA four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 79 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions.

— Among the 2004-05 entering freshman class, 80 percent of Penn State student-athletes earned degrees within six years, well above the 65 percent average for all Division I institutions, and second-highest to Northwestern (85) among Big Ten schools, according to the 2011 NCAA data.

— Among Penn State’s 29 varsity teams, 24 have a four-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score at or above the NCAA Division 1 average for all sports with four teams (field hockey, women’s cross country, women’s golf and women’s tennis) earning perfect APR scores of 1,000.

— The Penn State football team earned an APR score of 971, 23 points higher than the Division I football average; the men’s basketball team’s APR of 980 was 30 points higher than the Division I average and the women’s basketball team’s APR of 985 is 15 points higher than the national average.

— A total of 62 current and former Penn State student-athletes graduated this past May.

— A total of 51 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award in 2011-12 for earning a GPA of 3.7 or higher during the most recent academic year.

— Three Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 2011-12, giving Penn State 175 all-time honorees, the third-highest total among Division I institutions. Penn State has had 29 Academic All-America honorees the past four years.

Jeff Nelson, Penn State University

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