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Eastern Kentucky University student-athletes are graduating at a rate of 86 percent, up from 82 percent last year, according to the NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report released by the organization recently.

The report states Eastern Kentucky graduated 86 percent of its student-athletes who entered college in 2011 on scholarship.

Four EKU sports programs recorded 100 percent graduation rates: men’s basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball.

“I’m very proud of the work our student-athletes do in the classroom,” Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller said. “Our coaching staffs recruit students that make earning a degree a priority. Athletics serves as a vehicle for students, many of whom might not otherwise have the opportunity, to earn the degree that will allow them to be successful throughout their life.”

Eastern’s men’s basketball and men’s cross country/track (91 percent) teams posted the highest GSR in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in those respective sports. The softball, soccer and volleyball programs tied for the best in the Commonwealth. A total of seven EKU sports had graduation rates among the top-4 among state institutions.

EKU’s overall graduation rate tied for third in the 12-team Ohio Valley Conference. The graduation rates for men’s basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball tied for first in the OVC in those respective sports. Football’s rate of 77 percent was third in the conference.

The Division I Board of Directors created the GSR in response to Division I college and university presidents who wanted data that more accurately reflected the mobility of college students than the federal graduation rate. The federal rate counts any student who leaves a school as an academic failure, no matter whether he or she enrolls at another school. Also, the federal rate does not recognize students who enter school as transfer students.

The GSR formula removes from the rate student-athletes who leave school while academically eligible and includes student-athletes who transfer to a school after initially enrolling elsewhere. This calculation makes it a more complete and accurate look at student-athlete success.

The rate also allows for a deeper understanding of graduation success in individual sports than the federal metric, which provides only broad groupings.