According to the NCAA official federal graduation rate data released recently, Lobo student-athletes set new all-time records for both graduation and graduation success rates. New Mexico athletics graduated 66 percent of all student-athletes who enrolled as freshmen during the 2008-09 academic year.
That score was 11 points higher than the 55 percent achieved last year and besting the previous all-time high of 61 percent achieved in 2011. The school also scored a 79 percent Graduation Success Rate which beat the program's previous high of 76 percent, achieved in both 2010 and 2014.
The 66 percent single-year high was 18 points higher than the university's graduation rate as a whole, which was 48 percent. That 48 percent mark for the university also tied the highest mark in school history for the institution which was set in 2014.
The NCAA also released the graduation success rate scores (GSR) for all Division I schools, and UNM had several programs achieve record high scores. Women's basketball had a 100 percent GSR for a sixth straight season, and football and baseball scored at 65 percent and 79 percent respectively—those marks being the highest for either program in the history of GSR scores. Men's basketball improved on the all-time high 64 percent GSR set by the program last year jumping to 80 percent this year. Overall, female student-athletes had an 87 percent GSR, and male student-athletes had a 73 percent GSR, with the men's number being a program high.
The federal graduation rate differs slightly from the NCAA's graduation success rate. The federal rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen that graduate from the institution within six years. The NCAA graduation success rate factors in transfer students, whether transferring into the institution or out in good academic standing.
The Graduation Success Rate, along with the Academic Progress Rate or APR, was a part of former NCAA President Myles Brand's initiative to raise the academic standards and profiles for Division I institutions.
The 79 percent UNM GSR is the sixth straight year that the university has scored a 74 percent or better; the school scored a 76 percent in 2010, 74 percent in 2011, a 75 percent in 2012, a 74 percent in 2013 and a 76 percent in 2014.
The department has seen a solid rise in the GSR since it was instituted in 2005; UNM scored a 59 percent in that first year. Athletics has also seen a significant increase in the student-athlete federal graduation rate over the last 10 years with the 66 percent recorded this year nearly doubling the 37 percent rates recorded in 2006.
"While we have many goals, our number one mission is the graduation our student-athletes," said Paul Krebs. "Our commitment to the academic success of our student-athletes is well documented. The numbers released by the NCAA are great, but we will continue to work to improve them. Having one of the top academic facilities in the country in the Lobo Center for Student-Athlete Success, and the work of Dr. Henry Villegas and his staff, are difference-makers in the successes of our student-athletes."
"The high student-athlete graduation rates are a testament to a true team effort with student-athletes, coaches and academic support staff working together toward the ultimate goal of college which is the successful achievement of a college degree," said Henry Villegas, who heads the Lobo Center for Student-Athlete Success. "We are extremely proud of our student-athletes who continue to see their hard work in the classroom and fields of competition pay off in achieving such important and meaningful success."
Overall, student-athletes established an all-time high 58 percent four class average Federal Graduation Rate, while female student-athletes set a record 80 percent Federal Graduation Rate.