For the third time in the last four years, the Western Washington University Department of Athletics has earned the prestigious NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence.
WWU’s student-athletes recorded an Academic Success Rate of 90%, part of a record 42 NCAA Division II member schools that earned the NCAA award in 2020. Western also earned the award in 2017 and 2018, and fell one-percent short in 2019.
Western, located in Bellingham, Washington, was one of only six public institutions to earn the award out of the 42 schools in 2020, and one of only two schools from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference joining Seattle Pacific University.
“It is a true honor to see Western Washington University on this list of schools to earn the NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence,” said WWU Director of Athletics Steve Card. “This is a prestigious award that embodies what our student-athletes, coaches and staff strive for by achieving envious graduation rates. To earn this honor three of the last four years stresses how hard our student-athletes work in the classroom, while also maintaining excellence across the board in competition. I congratulate everyone that has worked towards this academic success and proud of how they represent WWU.”
The Academic Success Rate is the percentage of student-athletes who graduate within six years of initial collegiate enrollment and includes virtually all Division II student-athletes, including transfers and those not receiving athletic scholarships. This year’s ASR and FGR tracks student-athletes who entered college in the 2013-14 academic year. The FGR tracks the six-year graduation rate of freshmen who received athletic aid in a four-year cohort from 2010 to 2013, as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education. Standing alone, the freshman class of 2013-14 had a 90 percent FGR, also Western’s best ever.
Using the federal rate criteria, the four-year cohort of Viking student-athletes entering from 2010 to 2013 graduated at a 84 percent rate, compared to 69 percent for the full set of freshmen entering WWU in that period. Across NCAA Division II, student-athletes are also performing better than the general student body, with that same four-year cohort of student-athletes graduating at 62 percent, compared to 53 percent for all students at NCAA II institutions.
“The Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence recognizes Division II member schools for their commitment to a balanced college experience that supports the academic success of college athletes,” said Sandra Jordan, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Aiken and chair of the Division II Presidents Council. “Ten more institutions earned this award than last year, setting an all-time high for this program, but most importantly, this means college athletes at these schools are achieving academic success that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”