Student-athletes at Valparaiso University continue to distinguish themselves academically, graduating at a higher rate than their peers at many other universities, according to information released by the NCAA.

Using an average of graduation rates compiled by the four most recent classes, the NCAA study showed that 80 percent of Valpo’s student-athletes graduated within six years of enrollment and that they had a Graduation Success Rate of 94 percent.

The graduation rate is determined using methodology employed by the federal government, while the Graduation Success Rate, which incorporates information on students transferring into and out of institutions, was created by the NCAA. Nationally, the graduation rate for student-athletes at NCAA Division I institutions was 64 percent and the Graduation Success Rate was 80 percent.

For the fourth consecutive year, both the graduation rate and the Graduation Success Rate for Valpo’s student-athletes ranked highest among members of the Horizon League. Valparaiso also ranked second among the 10 Indiana institutions competing at the Division I level in both metrics, trailing only the University of Notre Dame.

Reports on specific teams for the most recent cohort year showed the women’s tennis team achieved a 100 percent graduation rate. The women’s tennis team was joined by men’s swimming, women’s cross country/track & field, women’s soccer and volleyball as programs with a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate.

“We are extremely proud that Valpo student-athletes continue to be leaders in academic achievement,” Valparaiso University Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said. “This high level of achievement, combined with last year’s successes in competition, clearly demonstrate the quality of the young people here at Valpo.”

In June 2012, six Valpo athletic teams (women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, softball, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field) received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for their exemplary academic performance. The award is presented to teams that have an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all teams in their respective sport. The calculation of APR tracks the academic progress of each student-athlete and includes eligibility, retention and graduation.

During the spring 2012 semester, 113 student-athletes received Presidential Academic Honors in recognition of earning a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher after at least three semesters at Valpo, including 11 student-athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher. Student-athletes from several Valpo teams were named to Horizon League or Pioneer Football League All-Academic Teams during the 2011-2012 academic year as well.