Student-athletes shatter academic marks during record spring semester

Credit: Penn State AthleticsAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student-athletes continued to raise the bar during the 2017 spring semester, shattering overall and spring academic records. Nittany Lion student-athletes posted an overall grade-point average of 3.14 during the spring semester, topping the previous mark of 3.12, set several times previously.

A school-record 66 percent of Nittany Lion student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average, topping the previous high of 63 percent from the fall 2015 semester. A total of 24 Penn State teams delivered a combined GPA of 3.0 or higher during the spring semester to tie the school mark set last fall. Women's golf recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State's 31 programs last spring.

The Nittany Lions have achieved the six highest semesters all-time for the number of students with at least a 3.0 GPA over the past six semesters, including a spring-record 495 during the most recent semester (see below).

"This outstanding academic performance is a tribute to the efforts our talented and highly motivated student-athletes direct toward their academic pursuits, the priority placed on academic achievement by our coaches, and the support they receive from our outstanding Morgan Academic Center staff, faculty and administration," said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "We strive every day to properly prepare our students for what lies ahead. These results make us all proud, particularly our alumni and donors who have invested mightily in that premise."

Penn State student-athlete academic records spring 2017 semester


  • Semester student-athlete combined GPA: 3.14 (previous high 3.12)
  • Percentage of student-athletes with at least 3.0 GPA: 66 percent (previous high 63 percent)
  • 24 teams earning at least a 3.0 GPA (ties fall 2016)

Spring semester:

  • 495 student-athletes with at least a 3.0 GPA (record broken for fifth consecutive year)
  • 237 student-athletes named to dean's list for 3.5 GPA (record broken for fifth consecutive year)

The number of Penn State student-athletes earning at least a 3.0 GPA broke the previous spring semester record for the fifth consecutive year. Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that a record 495 Nittany Lion student-athletes posted a 3.0 GPA or higher during the spring semester, breaking the mark of 482 set last year.

The 495 Nittany Lion students earning at least a 3.0 GPA represent a school-record 66 percent of the 753 student-athletes enrolled during the spring semester.

Student-athletes with 3.0 GPA; spring semester, 2013-17 (+9.1 percent)

  • Spring 2017: 495 (spring record)
  • Spring 2016: 482
  • Spring 2015: 474
  • Spring 2014: 461
  • Spring 2013: 450 (first year with men's and women's hockey)

Dean's list honorees up 20 percent since spring 2013

Also, for the fifth consecutive spring semester, the number of student-athletes named to the dean's list (3.5 GPA, minimum 12 credits) was a school record, with 237 this past spring. The previous mark was 223 in 2016. From the spring 2013 semester to this past spring, the number of student-athletes on the dean's list has increased by 20 percent (189 to 237).

Starting with the fall 2014 semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the six 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).

Student-athletes earning dean's list honors; spring semester, 2013-17 (+20.3 percent)
(3.5 GPA; minimum 12 credits)

  • Spring 2017: 237 (spring record)
  • Spring 2016: 224
  • Spring 2015: 221
  • Spring 2014: 205
  • Spring 2013: 189 (first year with men's and women's hockey)

Penn State student-athletes, who have captured 31 Big Ten championships and a 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 2016, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent compared to the 84 percent average for all Division I institutions for students entering from 2006-07 through the 2009-10 academic year. The 89 percent graduation figure was just one point off Penn State's 90 percent all-time graduation record mark and one point higher than the 2015 figure.

-- The NCAA reported in May that 18 Penn State teams earned perfect Academic Progress Rate scores of 1,000 in 2015-16, up from 13 in last year's report and 10 squads in 2013-14, representing a 44 percent improvement over the past two years.

-- A school-record 114 student-athletes graduated in May, breaking the previous mark of 109, set during the spring 2013 semester and tied last year. Including the fall 2016 semester, a total of 142 student-athletes have earned their diplomas thus far in 2016-17, with additional graduates in August.

-- A school-record 145 Nittany Lion students from the spring/at-large sports earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades. The 145 honorees boosted Penn State to 299 Academic All-Big Ten honorees in 2016-17, tying the record set last year. The previous high among the spring/at-large sports was 140, also set in 2015-16.

-- Penn State is second among all Big Ten institutions with 5,875 Academic All-Big Ten honorees since 1991-92, its first year of competition in some Big Ten sports.

-- Penn State has had 198 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including five honorees in 2016-17, which ranks fifth among all NCAA institutions and fourth among Division I schools.

Last Updated July 13, 2017