"We are obviously proud of all of our graduates within the athletics department," John Anderson, Associate Athletic Director for Student Services, said. "To be recognized by the American Football Coaches Association is not only a credit to our football student-athletes, it also is a credit to my staff, our coaches and the university faculty and staff. It takes a team effort to recruit, retain and to graduate our student-athletes."
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Mid-American all led the country with five schools above 70 percent, while the Big East, Big 12 and Southeastern had four each. The Sun Belt had two, while Conference USA, Mountain West, Pac-10 and Western Athletic conferences each were represented by one institution. Notre Dame was the lone independent on the list.
Notre Dame and Northwestern received the AFCA's 2007 Academic Achievement Award, which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis to programs, as both schools recorded a 95 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman class of 2001-02.
The overall graduation rate of the 107 I-A schools that responded to the AFCA survey was 60 percent, surpassing the mark of 58 percent in each of the previous two years. Fifty-two of the members responding were above the average and 55 below. The median graduation rate was 597 percent, compared to 57 percent last year two years. The 107 respondents to this year's survey is a record high. One hundred and four schools replied in 2006.
The study involves the freshman class from the academic year of 2001-02, including those who entered at that time but who did not receive financial aid until after their initial year, or who transferred from another institution and subsequently received a grant-in-aid.