Northwestern State sees increase in annual NCAA Graduation Success Rate report

Northwestern State student-athletes often have lived up to the athletic department’s core value of “academic success.”

The NCAA’s recent release of its annual Graduation Success Rate data earlier this month simply quantified it.

Northwestern State’s freshman cohort of 2012-13 produced the department’s highest GSR at 82 percent while NSU’s student-athlete Federal Graduation Rate of 62 percent tied its highest mark, set in 2017. The GSR marked an increase of 4 percent from the 2011-12 cohort and stands 22 percent higher than the Federal Graduation Rate.

“What an accomplishment for NSU Athletics to set a record for graduating its student-athletes,” Director of Athletics Greg Burke said. “This achievement surely generates a great sense of pride both internally and externally for our university.

“Credit for the 82 percent Graduation Success Rate goes to the student-athletes, faculty, staff and coaches who were a part of the most recent six-year cohort. Moving forward, the focus by all involved with our athletic program will continue to be encouraging and guiding our student-athletes toward that ‘academic finish line.’”

For the second straight year, three Northwestern State athletic programs – tennis, softball and volleyball – placed 100 percent of their student-athletes in the graduate cohort.

Among Southland Conference schools, Northwestern State saw four programs – women’s basketball (plus-6), football (plus-4), baseball (plus-2) and soccer (plus-1) – enjoy an increase in the conference standings from a year ago. The three programs with 100 percent rates tied for first while football (2nd) and men’s basketball (3rd) gave NSU two more top-three programs among the 13 conference schools, according to data gathered by Faculty Athletics Representative Jody Biscoe.

Northwestern State’s 82 GSR score placed it in a fifth-place tie among Southland Conference schools and fifth among Louisiana’s 12 Division I athletic programs.

“These numbers are extremely positive for our overall student-athlete experience when compared to other institutions,” Biscoe said. “This success would not have been possible without the character and drive of the student-athletes, the willingness of coaches to recruit quality individuals to their sports both in the classroom and in competition, academic support within the athletic academic arena, throughout academic departments at the university, and faculty who establish sound expectations for all students. Further, this is evidence that academics and the student-life experience here at Northwestern State is the foundation for a great career.”

The Division I Board of Directors created the GSR in response to Division I college and university presidents who wanted data to more accurately reflect the mobility of college students than the federal graduation rate. The federal rate counts any student who leaves a school as an academic failure, regardless of whether he or she enrolls at another school. Also, the federal rate does not include student-athletes who enter school as transfer students.

The GRS formula removes from the rate student-athletes who leave school while academically eligible and includes student-athletes who transfer to a school after initially enrolling elsewhere. This calculation makes it a more complete and accurate look at student-athlete success. The federal graduation rate, however, remains the only measure to compare student-athletes with the general student body.