Daily Herald
NIU athletes make grade in latest grad rate report
Daily Herald News Services
Published: 11/19/2009 4:24 PM

Data released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association shows that Northern Illinois student-athletes are graduating at greater levels than ever before, and at a rate that ranks above the national average.

Northern Illinois' overall Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for 2009 rose to 82 percent, up from 81 percent the year before, to mark the fifth straight year that NIU's GSR has improved. The Huskies continue to rank above the 79 percent national GSR average.

The 2009 rate reflects the graduation numbers for the freshman classes which entered school between 1999-2002. Unlike the federal graduation rates, the GSR holds institutions accountable for transfer students and mid-year enrollees, and is calculated independently for every sport.

Since more student-athletes are included in the GSR reports, it is regarded as a more accurate measure of ultimate long-term success.

"We are very pleased to see the Graduation Success Rate numbers for Northern Illinois student-athletes continue to rise," said Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "Reports like these provide further evidence of our academic success and progress. Developing champions in the classroom is the first phrase in our mission statement, and reports like these serve to underscore the importance we place on our academic achievements."

NIU's overall GSR for 2009 includes a 74 percent mark for male student-athletes and a 94 percent number for females as those figures both rank above the national averages of 72 percent (males) and 88 percent (females).

By sport, Northern Illinois boasts 13 programs (out of 15) with a GSR above the national average for their respective sports, including all eight of its female teams.

(Note: The NCAA combines women's indoor and outdoor track and cross country into one sport for purposes of this survey.)

Men's basketball has a GSR of 77 percent for 2009, well above the 64 national average and fifth in the Mid-American Conference, while the football team's 73 GSR is six points higher than the national mark and third in the MAC.

The complete Graduation Success Rate reports, as well as the Federal Graduation Rate data, which compares student-athletes to the general student body, are available online at www.ncaa.org.