Student and Academic Life

UK Athletics Posts Record Graduation Rates Again

 LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2020) — The steady progression of academic achievement for the University of Kentucky Athletics Department continues. Wildcat student-athletes broke records for Graduation Success Rate and Federal Graduation Rate as released Tuesday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“We’re proud of our student-athletes for setting graduation records again,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “In addition to being a tribute to our students, we also recognize 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 2010-11 through 2013-14, was 92%. That tops the previous school record of 91% 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 being a school record, Kentucky’s GSR of 92% is two points above the national Division I average of 90%. 

“GSR is a long-term metric that reflects the cumulative efforts of the UK team — our students, a world class faculty, professional academic support staff, coaches and so many others,” said Jason Cummins, UK executive associate athletics director of student-athlete experience. “Their pursuit of knowledge lays the foundation for future impact across multiple professional endeavors.”

The GSR includes all scholarship 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 16-year history of the measure:

Year                     NCAA GSR

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 2010-11 through 2013-14. UK’s latest FGR mark is 65%, breaking the record of 61% from the previous two years. 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, 97 Wildcats received diplomas during the 2019-20 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 16 consecutive semesters.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.