Record 26 Teams and 520 Student-Athletes Earn 3.0 GPA During Fall Semester

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Feb. 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State student-athletes continued to raise the bar during the 2017 fall semester, shattering overall and fall academic records. A school record 26 teams delivered a combined 3.0 grade-point average during the fall semester, accounting for 84 percent of the Nittany Lions' 31 varsity programs.

A school record 520 student-athletes posted at least a 3.0 GPA during the fall, including a Penn State record 253 who earned Dean's List honors with at least a 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits). The previous high marks were 516 with a 3.0 GPA and 241 on the Dean's List (see below).

Russ Mushinsky, Director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that Nittany Lion students also posted an overall grade-point average of 3.14 during the 2017 fall semester to tie the school mark set during the 2017 spring semester. A fall semester record 64 percent of Penn State's 812 enrolled student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average, good for No. 2 overall.

The women's cross country team recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State's 31 programs last fall, followed closely by the 2017 Big Ten Tournament Champion women's soccer team and the men's gymnastics squad.

"This tremendous academic performance is a testament to the effort and priority our talented student-athletes direct towards their academic pursuits, the emphasis placed on academic achievement by our coaches, and the support they receive from our dedicated Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and administration," said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics. "Every day, we are striving for comprehensive excellence across all aspects of ICA and preparing our students for a lifetime of impact. Academic achievement is at the forefront of that excellence. These results make our alumni and donors who have invested mightily in that premise, very proud."

Penn State Student-Athlete Academic Records from 2017 Fall Semester

  • 26 teams earning at least a 3.0 GPA (previous high 24, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017)
  • 520 student-athletes with at least a 3.0 GPA (Fall and overall record)
  • 253 student-athletes named to Dean's List for 3.5 GPA (Fall and overall record)
  • Semester student-athlete combined GPA - 3.14 (tied with Spring 2017)
Fall Semester only:
  • Percentage of student-athletes with at least 3.0 GPA - 64 percent (No. 2 overall)
Seven Highest Semesters for Number of 3.0 GPA Students Since Fall 2014
Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the seven highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA:
  • 2014 fall (500); 2015 spring (474)
  • 2015 fall (516); 2016 spring (482)
  • 2016 fall (498); 2017 spring (495)
  • 2017 fall (520).
The number of student-athletes posting at least a 3.0 GPA during the fall semester has increased 10 percent the past four years (five fall semesters) from 468 in 2013 to 520 in 2017.

Student-Athletes With 3.0 GPA; Fall semester, 2013-17 (+10 percent)

  • Fall 2017 - 520 (fall and overall record)
  • Fall 2016 - 498
  • Fall 2015 - 516
  • Fall 2014 - 500
  • Fall 2013 - 468
The number of student-athletes posting at least a 3.5 GPA during the fall semester to earn Dean's List recognition has increased 22.1 percent the past four years (five fall semesters) from 197 in 2013 to 253 in 2017. A 3.5 GPA and passing a minimum of 12 credits are required to be considered for Dean's List honors.

Student-Athletes earning Dean's List honors; Fall semester, 2013-17 (+22.1 percent) (3.5 GPA; minimum 12 credits)

  • Fall 2017 - 253 (fall and overall record)
  • Fall 2016 - 223
  • Fall 2015 - 232
  • Fall 2014 - 241
  • Fall 2013 - 197
Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 34 Big Ten Championships and conference-best eight NCAA titles since September 2012, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. A sampling of their recent academic accomplishments includes:
  • In November 2017, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a school record-tying Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent, which is an increase of two points from the 2015 report. Nine Nittany Lion teams earned a perfect 100 percent Graduation Success Rate, up from five teams two years ago.
  • The nine Nittany Lion squads posting perfect 100 percent graduation rates were: men's basketball, field hockey, women's golf, women's gymnastics, men's hockey, women's hockey, men's soccer, softball and women's tennis.
  • The NCAA reported in May, 2017 that 18 Penn State teams earned perfect Academic Progress Rate scores of 1,000 in 2015-16, up from 13 in the 2016 report and 10 squads in the 2015 report, representing a 44 percent improvement over the past two years.
  • A school record 114 Penn State student-athletes earned their degrees in May 2017 and during the 2017 calendar year a total of 173 Nittany Lions graduated.
  • Penn State is second among all Big Ten institutions with 5,992 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports. During the 2017 fall semester, a school record 117 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
  • Penn State has had 200 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including five honorees in 2016-17 and two this past fall. The Nittany Lions' 200 total ranks fifth among all NCAA institutions and fourth among Division I schools.