UK athletes break, tie graduation rate records, top national average

Wildcats tie school record for NCAA Graduation Success Rate and break school standard for Federal Graduation Rate

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – University of Kentucky student-athletes broke one school record and tied another for graduation rate while exceeding the national average for graduation in the annual report issued Thursday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“We’re proud of our student-athletes for continuing to improve our graduation marks,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said.  “In addition to being a tribute to our students, we appreciate the leadership of our coaches and the guidance of our CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) staff for helping make this happen.”

UK’s NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR), a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2011-12 through 2014-15, was 92 percent. That tied the record set last year, continuing UK Athletics’ streak of breaking or tying the mark every year since the NCAA began tracking the statistic in 2005.

In addition to tying the school record, Kentucky’s GSR of 92 percent is three points above the Division I national average of 89 percent.

The GSR includes student-athletes who are on scholarship their first semester of enrollment. Athletes who transfer or depart for the professional ranks in good standing do not count against the school’s GSR. Schools also are allowed to count incoming transfers and January enrollees who subsequently graduate toward the GSR.

Here are UK Athletics’ GSR scores in the 17-year history of the measure:

Year                     NCAA GSR
2021                    92%

2020                    92

2019                    91

2018                    88

2017                    85
2016                    82
2015                    81
2014                    81
2013                    79
2012                    79
2011                    77
2010                    74
2009                    73
2008                    73
2007                    71
2006                    71
2005                    68

The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) is also a four-year composite statistic for freshman classes from 2011-12 through 2014-15. UK’s latest FGR mark is 66%, breaking the record of 65 percent set last year. Data for this statistic is available since 1991.

In the FGR, student-athletes who transfer or depart early for the professional ranks count as non-graduates, regardless of their academic standing or subsequent graduation from another institution. Incoming transfer students, from junior college or four-year schools, who graduate at UK are not counted as graduates. These factors account for the difference between the FGR and the NCAA GSR.

With those record graduation rates, 115 Wildcats received diplomas during the 2020-21 academic year alone. UK student-athletes are also receiving high marks in the classroom, combining to surpass the department’s goal of a 3.0 grade-point average in 18 consecutive semesters.

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