The Nittany Lions also boast the second best graduation rate among Big Ten Conference schools. Northwestern's 95 percent graduation rate was the best in the nation.
Penn State's graduation rate of 83 percent for students entering in 1999-2000 was 28 points higher than the national average of 55 percent over the six-year period.
Coach Joe Paterno's program previously received honorable mention notice from the AFCA in 1998-99, 2001-02-03-05-06. The Nittany Lions also were cited in 1985-87-88-89-91-92-93-94-95, when Penn State was a member of the College Football Association, who conducted the graduation survey at the time. In 1996 and '97, Penn State was not a CFA member, but had a graduation rate of better than 70 percent. The AFCA is in its 10th year of presenting the award.