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Learning Curve

Quiz: They come to win – and graduate?

Marketplace Contributor Oct 30, 2014

Division I student-athletes who enrolled in 2007 graduated at a higher rate than previous classes, according to the NCAA.


The NCAA uses its own metric called the Graduation Success Rate, which tracks student-athletes over six years, but does not factor in those who transfer from a university in good academic standing. The Department of Education’s graduation rate scores transfers as students who failed to graduate from their original institution.

The NCAA started using the GSR in 2003, and it is typically higher than federal graduation rates. Critics say the GSR can be manipulated.


The GSR for football players rose to nearly 75 percent, a record for the sport. Use the NCAA search tool to see GSR breakdowns for specific universities and teams.


The NCAA released its upbeat survey just after an independent investigation of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that between 1993 and 2011 more than 3,100 students enrolled in classes that did not require attendance or course work. Almost half of those enrolled in the fake classes were student-athletes.


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