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Student-athletes’ graduation success rate hits all-time high for fourth year

Nine USC sports had a graduation success rate this year above 90 percent, with five having perfect scores of 100 percent

Women’s soccer players
Among the USC sports with a graduation success rate above 90 percent was women’s soccer. (USC Photo/John McGillen)

For the fourth consecutive year, the graduation success rate of USC student-athletes is at an all-time high of 86 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the NCAA.

The 2017 number measures how many student-athletes in the incoming classes of 2007 through 2010 graduated within six years of their enrollment.

That 86 percent figure, 18 percentage points higher than it was 10 years ago, comes on the heels of USC’s previous-best rates of 80 percent in 2014, 81 percent in 2015 and 83 percent in 2016.

Six perfect scores

Nine of the 18 USC sports whose data was tracked by the NCAA had a graduation success rate this year above 90 percent, with five having perfect scores of 100 percent: defending NCAA champion women’s soccer (100 percent), men’s golf (100 percent), men’s and women’s tennis (both 100 percent), women’s rowing (100 percent), women’s water polo (96 percent), women’s swimming (96 percent), women’s basketball (92 percent) and men’s volleyball (91 percent).

All of those teams except women’s basketball and men’s volleyball recorded all-time high graduation success rates for their programs, as did football (73 percent).

Twelve USC teams saw their scores either improve from last year or stay the same: men’s golf (up 20 percentage points), men’s tennis (up 20), men’s and women’s track (both up 13), women’s tennis (up 12), football (up 6), women’s rowing (up 4), men’s water polo (up 1), women’s swimming (up 1), women’s soccer (even), women’s basketball (even) and women’s water polo (even).

Support and services

“We are delighted that our student-athletes continue to perform well in the classroom,” said Magdi El Shahawy, USC senior associate athletic director in charge of student-athlete academic services, who singled out the department’s Stevens Academic Center and USC Trustee Mark Stevens ’81, MS ’84 for playing a vital role in the academic success of the student-athletes.

“There is a culture of academic success in our athletic department,” El Shahawy said, “and it is evident when data like this comes out.”

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