You are here

Graduation rates for Division II decline slightly; Division II membership to vote on Path to Graduation proposals in January

Division II student-athletes out-perform the general student body in the classroom, according to the most recent NCAA Academic Success Rate (ASR) data.

Now in its eighth year of data collection, Division II’s ASR is similar to Division I’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR), in that it includes transfers into an institution in the calculation, but removes students who left the institution while academically eligible. Because of Division II’s partial scholarship financial aid model, it also includes all non-scholarship freshman student-athletes on the roster, capturing more than 35,000 non-scholarship student-athletes.

Even when utilizing the less-inclusive federal rate, Division II student-athletes perform better than the general student body. The federal rate for student-athletes held steady at 54 percent, and the federal rate for the overall student body held steady at 48 percent, a difference of six percentage points.

The Division II national four-year average ASR dropped one point from last year to 71 percent, while the entering class of 2006 dropped three points--to 69 percent--from the 2005 cohort.

At the NCAA Convention in January 2014, the Division II membership will vote on a five-part legislative package intended to increase student-athlete success and graduation rates. The five proposals in the package address a variety of academic standards and include adjustments to eligibility standards and progress-toward-degree requirements.

“Division II is committed to creating a comprehensive and balanced experience for its student-athletes,” said Terri Steeb Gronau, vice president of Division II. “This legislative package, taken in its entirety, ensures that Division II student-athletes are on a path to graduation.”

Patrick O’Brien, president of West Texas A&M University and current chair of the Division II Presidents Council, reiterated the importance of academic success to Division II chancellors/presidents and the membership.

“Student-athlete academic success, coupled with the opportunity to compete athletically at the highest level, is of the highest priority of DII member institutions,” said Patrick O’Brien.  “This was the driving force behind the Life in the Balance initiative and it is the driving force behind the Path to Graduation initiative.”

Thomas Haas, president of Grand Valley State University and incoming chair of the Division II Presidents Council, said that continuous academic improvement will remain top of mind for Division II membership.

"The fact that student-athletes are achieving at higher rates than the average student body speaks volumes to current legislation," said Haas. "The NCAA is constantly seeking to improve the overall experience of its student-athletes, and the upcoming Path to Graduation proposals are part of that constant reevaluation to ensure the greatest opportunities for all."

This year, Division II institutions used a new academic reporting system. This system is expected to provide more accurate data collection about the academic successes of Division II student-athletes. In its first year, the NCAA research staff saw some discrepancies in the data reported by schools, which may account for some variety in the actual numbers. As the Division II membership becomes more comfortable operating the new system, it is expected to increase the accuracy of the NCAA’s Academic Success Rates.

The NCAA graduation success rates (Division I) and academic success rates (Division II and Division III) were formed when presidents and chancellors in all three NCAA divisions called for the Association to develop a measure of graduation success that better reflects transfer patterns in higher education. The GSR and ASR counts transfer students, unlike the federal graduation rate. The Division I graduation success rate data were announced earlier this year and Division III data will follow at a later date.