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USC student-athletes’ graduation success rate hits all-time high — again

It’s the third consecutive year that the rate has hit a new record, according to data from the NCAA

Women’s soccer players
Seven USC sports had a graduation success rate above 90 percent, including women’s soccer. (USC Photo/John McGillen)

For the third consecutive year, the graduation success rate of USC student-athletes is at an all-time high, according to data released Tuesday by the NCAA. The 2016 rate, 83 percent, measures how many student-athletes in the classes of 2006 through 2009 graduated within six years of their enrollment.

The 83 percent figure, 17 percentage points higher than the rate was 10 years ago, comes on the heels of USC’s then-best rates of 80 percent in 2014 and 81 percent in 2015.

“We continue to be very pleased with the performance of our student-athletes in the classroom and with the culture of academic success that has been established in our athletic department,” said Magdi El Shahawy, USC senior associate athletic director in charge of student-athlete academic services. “Much credit goes to the hard work of our student-athletes and the support they get from their coaches to graduate.”

Better than 90 percent

Seven USC sports had graduation success rates above 90 percent: women’s soccer (100 percent), women’s water polo (96 percent), women’s rowing (96 percent), women’s swimming (95 percent), men’s volleyball (92 percent), women’s volleyball (92 percent) and women’s basketball (92 percent).

The women’s soccer, women’s water polo, women’s swimming and men’s volleyball teams were among five USC teams that recorded all-time highs, along with football (67 percent).

Ten of the 18 USC teams whose data was recorded saw their scores either improve from last year or stay the same: football, women’s soccer, women’s water polo, women’s rowing, women’s swimming, men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball, women’s tennis (88 percent), men’s water polo (86 percent) and men’s tennis (80 percent).

The football rate is 9 percentage points higher than last year.

NFL impact

While football posted its highest graduation success rate ever, the number was impacted because several members of the 2006-2009 cohorts left school early to prepare for the NFL and did not finish their graduation requirements within the six-year calculation period.

Said El Shahawy: “We collectively look for ways not only to continue to improve our graduation rates, but to improve the services we offer our student-athletes to prepare them for successful lives for many years after they leave USC.  We are fortunate to have supporters like Mark Stevens, who helped us establish our state-of-the-art Stevens Academic Center in 2012 that has played a crucial role in our student-athletes’ academic success.”

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