Kristen Finstad

Northwestern Leads NCAA In Graduation Success Rate

Created on Oct. 25, 2013 2:05 PM EST

Northwestern University may not be competing for a Big Ten championship on the football field this season, but its success in the classroom can't be beat.

According to the NCAA's annual graduation success rates, which the organization released Thursday, Wildcats football players top the leaderboard with a 97-percent graduation success rate. The overall FBS graduation rate is 71 percent,

The graduation success rate is the percentage of athletes who graduated within six years of beginning college. 

"More student-athletes than ever before are earning their college degrees, and we are gratified to see our reform efforts impact the lives of those we serve," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement on "We have even higher expectations for the future, but we are proud of the progress we have made." 

The overall graduation rate of student-athletes has increased by eight percentage points since the NCAA first began keeping track of graduation rates among student-athletes who entered college in 1995. (Other numbers are positive, but not as glowing, and the NCAA's figures don't tell the entire story.)

Eight schools, including Northwestern, have a graduation success rate over 90 percent. Northwestern is followed by Rice (95 percent), Boston College (94 percent), Notre Dame (94 percent), Air Force (93 percent), Stanford (93 percent), Duke (92 percent) and Boise State (91 percent).

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