Dec. 2, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 7

University's Student-Athlete Grad Rate Among Top Five

p>The Boston College Eagles are ranked in the nation's top five, and it has nothing to do with football, basketball, hockey or soccer victories. The latest National Collegiate Athletic Association Graduation Rates Report shows that 86 percent of scholarship student-athletes who entered Boston College as freshmen in 1997 have received their degrees, one of the top academic success records among the nation's 117 Division 1-A football-playing schools.

Duke University posted the highest student-athlete graduation percentage in the analysis period with 94 percent, followed by Notre Dame (89), Stanford (87), Northwestern and Boston College (each 86).

Boston College's athletic graduation rate easily surpasses the NCAA Division 1-A football schools' average of 62 percent.

The University's graduation rate for all students in the same six-year period is 89 percent, according to the NCAA figures. The overall student completion rate for all Division 1-A football schools is 64 percent.

Boston College's commitment to its student-athletes runs far deeper than just providing them with a scholarship to participate in sports, says Director of Learning Resources for Student-Athletes Ferna L. Phillips.

"One of the more important statistics within this study is the number of student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility and graduate, which in effect says that Boston College has students who come here to play and graduate," she said. "We do not have them come here to play and when they finish still be two or three years away from graduating.

"That number [those students who have exhausted their eligibility and graduated] is 98 percent," Phillips said. "Virtually every student who comes here and plays his or her eligibility graduates as well."

Phillips cites the attention and ability of the LRSA staff - which includes six professional academic counselors and learning specialists and a full-time administrative assistant - as a major reason for Boston College's success in graduating its student-athletes. "We are not just concerned about their academics," she said, "we are also concerned about the things that make them good people in the long run.

"We may focus on their academics, but we also want to keep them focused on meeting their goal. Our staff shares a lot of the same core values - methods in which to cajole, entice, support and maintain, but more importantly, empower our student-athletes.

"Because we do that, the student-athlete's best interest is in our hearts," Phillips said. "I think that is what makes us a little bit different. That's not to say that there's not people like us everywhere, but there's something that we keep doing right, and it's to our advantage to keep doing it." -Reid Oslin

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