BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Achieving off the field of play has always been the goal for
the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers, and WKU’s student-athletes are doing it at the
highest rate in school history as the NCAA announced WKU’s Graduation Success Rate
(GSR) is at its all-time high.
WKU Athletics posted an overall GSR of 85, increasing on last year’s reported score
of 82, to improve on the program’s standing as one of the top producers of graduates
in the NCAA. Four WKU sport programs posted perfect GSR scores: women’s basketball,
women’s soccer, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our student-athletes, coaches, and athletic
program as a whole,” said Director of Athletics Todd Stewart. “Along with leading
Conference USA with 24 total championships since joining the league in 2014, our
student-athletes are also achieving at their highest levels in the classroom as
well. It is a true testament to their dedication and hard work during their time on
WKU’s three point improvement in the GSR is the second largest year-to-year leap
since the report began in 1998. The program improved on a score of 76 to 80 between
2000 and 2001.
Volleyball extended its streak of perfect GSR scores to 13 years and has posted a
perfect score every year the program has been eligible to report. Women’s tennis
posted a perfect GSR score for the fourth consecutive season and for the sixth time
in program history. Joining them in the category, women’s soccer posted its seventh
perfect score since 2001, and women’s basketball posted a its third all-time perfect
WKU is one of eight C-USA programs to have at least four sport programs with perfect
The GSRs released Wednesday are based on the four freshmen classes in Division I
entering from 2008 to 2011. The NCAA calculates the rates based upon the number of
student-athletes who graduated within six years after initially enrolling, in
addition to those who left an institution prior to graduating but would have been
academically eligible to compete.
The largest jumps year-to-year in WKU’s GSR report came on the hardwood where men’s
basketball improved by 10 points this season to an 85 overall score, and the Lady
Toppers improved on their already high mark of 90 to the perfect 100 this season.
ABOUT THE NCAA GRADUATION SUCCESS RATE
The Division I Board of Directors created the GSR in response to Division I college
and university presidents who wanted data that more accurately reflected the
mobility of college students than the federal graduation rate did. The federal rate
counts as an academic failure any student who leaves a school, no matter whether he
or she enrolls at another school. Also, the federal rate does not recognize students
who enter school as transfer students.
The GSR 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 provides a more accurate look at
The rate also allows for a deeper understanding of graduation success in individual
sports than the federal metric, which provides only broad groupings.
The federal graduation rate, however, remains the only measure to compare
student-athletes with the general student body. Using this measure, student-athletes
graduate at a rate 2 percentage points higher than the general student body – 68
percent compared with 66 percent.