UK Graduation Rates Show Significant Rise

Oct. 27, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The NCAA’s annual graduation rates report was released Wednesday, featuring dramatic improvement by University of Kentucky student-athletes in the Federal Graduation Rate and the highest showing ever in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate.

The Federal Graduation Rate for UK’s freshman class of 2003-04 was 67 percent, a 15-point improvement from 52 percent in 2002-03.  The Federal Rate of 67 percent is UK’s highest in at least 19 years of data available back to the 1984-85 freshman class.

In addition, the Federal Rate of 67 percent for the 2003-04 freshman class is seven percent above the overall UK student body rate of 60 percent.  This is another area of significant progress.  UK’s 2002-03 student-athlete freshman class was six percent below the overall UK student body.

The Federal Rate for UK’s freshman men of 2003-04 was 67 percent, a gain of 25 points from 42 percent the year before.  Freshman women also improved to 68 percent in 2003-04, a five-point gain over the previous year.

The Federal Rate includes scholarship freshman student-athletes in all sports (no walk-ons).  Student-athletes who transfer away count against the school, regardless of their academic standing; incoming transfer students, from junior colleges or four-year schools, are not factored into the Federal Rate.

The NCAA Graduation Success Rate, a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2000-01 through 2003-04, was 74 percent.  That is UK’s highest in the six-year history of the GSR.  Student-athletes who transfer away do not count against the school, as long as they are in good academic standing, which accounts for the difference between the Federal Rate and NCAA GSR numbers.

The statistics also are encouraging in the primary revenue sports of football and men’s basketball.  The football Federal Graduation Rate for the 2003-04 freshmen was 75 percent, an increase of 29 points from the 2002-03 freshmen.  The NCAA GSR, again covering a four-year span, bumped eight points to 63 percent.

In men’s basketball, the 2003-04 freshmen achieved a Federal Graduation Rate of 75 percent, up 42 percent from the previous freshman class.  The four-year NCAA GSR improved to 44 percent, an increase of 13 points.

The improvements indicate the emphasis placed on academic success by UK President Dr. Lee Todd and Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart.  Todd assumed the presidency of the university in 2001 and Barnhart became athletics director in 2002.  

“I’m excited to know that the efforts of our student-athletes in the classroom are reflective of the same passion they carry in competition,” Barnhart said.  “There has been a conscious effort by our student-athletes, coaches and staff to improve the academic performance of our department and move it in line with the high standards demanded by the University and President Todd.

“I would anticipate that the efforts of our people will continue to reflect our ongoing commitment to academic growth.”

The future outlook remains bright for UK’s student-athlete graduation numbers.  One of Barnhart’s goals for UK Athletics is a composite 3.0 grade-point average for all student-athletes, an objective achieved when Wildcat athletes posted an overall 3.04 GPA in the 2010 spring semester.