Campus News

UK Athletes Break, Tie Graduation Rate Records and Exceed National Average for Graduation

Photo provided by UK Athletics
Photo provided by UK Athletics.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2021) — University of Kentucky student-athletes broke one school record and tied another for graduation rate while exceeding the national average for graduation in the annual report issued Thursday by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

"We're proud of our student-athletes for continuing to improve our graduation marks," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. "In addition to being a tribute to our students, we appreciate 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 2011-12 through 2014-15, was 92%. That tied the record 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 tying the school record, Kentucky's GSR of 92% is three points above the Division I national average of 89%. 

The GSR includes 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 17-year history of the measure:   Year                     NCAA GSR

2021                    92%

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 2011-12 through 2014-15. UK's latest FGR mark is 66%, breaking the record of 65% set last year. 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, 115 Wildcats received diplomas during the 2020-21 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 18 consecutive semesters.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.