Sept. 2, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame compiled the nation’s highest overall graduation rate for Division I-A student-athletes to take top honors in the 2003 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Awards announced today.
Ninety-two percent of the Fighting Irish student-athletes who enrolled in 1996 earned a degree from the University, three percentage points higher than second-place Tulsa University. Duke and Wisconsin finished third at 88 percent, followed by Northwestern, 87; Boston College, 86; Stanford, 84; Western Michigan, 83; Michigan, 82; and Syracuse, Rice and Utah State, 81.
In addition to the overall rate, Academic Achievement Awards are presented to the institutions with the best student-athlete graduation rates in comparison to the overall student body and to those that show the most improvement from the previous year.
Now in their third year, the awards include a $20,000 prize for the top institutions in each category. They are based on federally compiled figures submitted by NCAA member institutions.
The NCAA bases graduation rates on the raw percentage of student-athletes who entered an institution and graduated within six years. Students who leave or transfer, regardless of academic standing, are considered non graduates. Notre Dame’s graduation rate for student-athletes who complete all four years of athletic eligibility is 99 percent.