LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell Athletics is once again at the head of the class in student-athlete graduation rate. The NCAA released its annual student-athlete graduate-rate survey on Thursday, and according to the U.S. Department of Education’s standards, Bucknell and Stanford tied for the national lead, with a four-class average of 93 percent for student-athletes entering between 2003-04 and 2006-07. In the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula, Bucknell tied for fourth nationally at 98 percent.

The GSR differs from the federal graduation-rate formula in that the GSR factors in transfer students who do graduate, and does not penalize schools for losing transfers who leave in good academic standing. Bucknell, Stanford and Davidson (92 percent) were the only three Division I programs to post federal rates over 90 percent (note that the Ivy League and military academies do not report federal graduation rates). Bucknell and Stanford will play in the men’s basketball season-opener on Nov. 8 in Palo Alto, Calif.

Bucknell’s GSR of 98 percent trailed only Brown, Dartmouth and Notre Dame, which all came in at 99 percent.

“To be ranked No. 1 in the nation in graduation rates is a tremendous achievement that reflects the hard work and dedication of each and every Bison student-athlete, coach and staff member,” said John Hardt, director of athletics and recreation. “Our top departmental decision-making priority has been, and always will be, the welfare and education of our Bison student-athletes. Ranking among the national leaders in student-athlete graduation rates has become an annual source of pride at Bucknell, and the academic performance of our student-athletes serves as validation that our priorities are well-placed.”

All but two Bison sports programs have perfect 100 percent GSR ratings. Every Bucknell women’s program has a perfect GSR score, and the Bison men’s basketball team is one of 42 out of 346 Division I programs to boast a GSR of 100.

The Bucknell football team just missed a perfect score, but its GSR of 97 percent ranked fourth nationally, behind only Campbell, Brown and Davidson.

Bucknell’s student-athlete graduation rate of 93 percent exceeds the university’s general student body graduation rate of 91 percent.

By the federal guidelines, 12 Bison varsity programs boast perfect 100-percent graduation rates. Those programs are men’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s water polo, wrestling, field hockey, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis, women’s track and field and volleyball.

Bucknell is one of only three Division I men’s basketball programs with a perfect percentage, joining Belmont and Alcorn State.

In last year’s survey, Bucknell ranked second nationally with a graduation rate of 91 percent. Bucknell has topped the nation in graduation rates on several other occasions, including in 2003, when it received a USA Today-NCAA Academic Achievement Award with a perfect 100 percent figure.

Bucknell’s success in the classroom was duplicated across the Patriot League as the conference ranked No. 1 nationally in graduation rates

Each spring, the NCAA releases a separate set of data, called the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures both academic performance and retention. Each program receives an APR score, with teams falling under a certain threshold subject to penalties such as loss of scholarships and postseason bans. The top 10 percent in each sport receive APR Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA, and last June, 19 of Bucknell's programs were so honored, the third-highest total in all of Division I. All of Bucknell's programs easily met the NCAA minimum standard, and 15 maintained perfect scores.

Bucknell sponsors 27 intercollegiate sports at the Division I level. It is a charter member of the Patriot League and has won the league's all-sports championship in 18 of the 23 years it has been contested. Bucknell ranks fifth in Division I in producing Academic All-Americans.

1. Bucknell - 93
    Stanford - 93
3.  Davidson - 92
4.  Holy Cross - 89
      Lafayette - 89
     Northwestern - 89
7.  Colgate - 88
      Notre Dame - 88
9.  Duke - 86
     Georgetown - 86

Other Patriot League Programs:
American - 74
Boston U. -  79
Colgate - 88
Holy Cross - 89
Lafayette - 89
Lehigh - 82
Loyola - 82
Army - N/A
Navy - N/A

Note: The Ivy League and service academies do not report federal graduation rates.

1. Brown - 99
    Dartmouth - 99
    Notre Dame - 99
4.  Bucknell - 98
     Colgate - 98
     Davidson - 98
     Duke - 98
     Harvard - 98
     Holy Cross - 98
     Lafayette - 98
     Yale - 98

Other Patriot League Programs:
American - 95
Army - 90
Boston U. - 95
Colgate - 98
Holy Cross - 98
Lafayette - 98
Lehigh - 90
Loyola (Md.) - 95
Navy - 90