November 29, 2016, BY Samantha Wallace

Bucknell Athletics continues to be among the best in the nation for student-athlete graduation rates, according to the NCAA's annual survey, finishing second to Stanford for the third year in a row.

Figures released by the U.S. Department of Education show that Bucknell ranks second nationally, with a four-class average of 91 percent for student-athletes entering between 2006-07 and 2009-10. Only Stanford, at 95 percent, came in above Bucknell, while Northwestern and Davidson were tied at 91 percent (the Ivy League and military academies do not report federal graduation rates).

By the federal guidelines, seven Bison varsity programs have perfect 100-percent graduation rates: baseball, men's lacrosse, field hockey, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, women's swimming & diving, women's tennis and volleyball. Five other programs are at 90 percent or better.

In the last four years, the University has placed either first or second in the nation in student-athlete graduation rate, and John Hardt, director of athletics & recreation, doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

"Our high standing in the national rankings for student-athlete graduation rates has become something of an annual tradition at Bucknell, and it is something that we are very proud of," Hardt said. "It is reflective of the culture that has been established here, where we strive to cultivate scholar-athletes in the truest sense. This national recognition is the result of the continued hard work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. Bison Athletics is first and foremost a student-centered organization. Student-athlete welfare will always be our top priority, and as such I expect that Bucknell will continue to excel in all of the scholar-athlete metrics."

The NCAA also announced its own Graduation Success Rate (GSR) results, and Bucknell once again scored very well — 95 percent — in that formula. 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.The Bison men's basketball team is one of 48 out of 351 Division I programs to have a GSR of 100. The wrestling team is one of only four programs with a perfect GSR, joining Columbia, Princeton and Davidson. Men's lacrosse is one of 10 nationally with a perfect score.   

Sixteen Bison sports programs have perfect 100 percent GSR ratings: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's water polo, wrestling, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis, rowing, field hockey, women's golf, softball and volleyball. All remaining sports were at 85 percent or better.

In addition to high rankings by federal standards and an excellent GSR, Bucknell also garnered accolades with its Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures both academic performance and retention. Each program receives an APR score, released by the NCAA each spring, 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. Last May, 17 of Bucknell's programs were so honored, scoring the third-highest total in all of Division I. All of Bucknell's programs easily met the NCAA minimum standard, and 17 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 Presidents' Cup, the league's all-sports championship in 18 of the 26 years it has been contested.

Read more about student-athlete success in Bucknell Magazine.