Student record

Penn State student-athletes deliver record academic performances in fall 2021 semester

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania. – In another record-breaking academic achievement, Penn State student-athletes recorded a 3.14 grade point average (GPA) during the fall 2021 semester. The Nittany Lions set both fall and together (non-alternative grading) with 567 students (65%) with a 3.0 semester GPA and 289 Dean’s List winners (3.5 semester GPA). Additionally, a record 69 students recorded a 4.0 semester with 14 carrying a 4.0 cumulative GPA.

Notable figures from the fall semester 2021:

Cumulative grade point average of 3.14 semesters
3.30 Cumulative GPA
567 student-athletes with 3.0 semester GPA (fall and overall record)
69 student-athletes with a 4.0 semester GPA (fall and overall record)
289 student-athletes on Dean’s List (3.5 GPA) (fall and overall record)
28 teams (out of 31 total) with a GPA of 3.3 or higher

“Our students never cease to amaze me! They continue to challenge themselves every day, not only in competition, but in the classroom,” said Sandy Barbour, vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “Like much of the world, they have endured significant challenges over the past two years and they have only turned those challenges into achievements. Setting fall and overall records for 3.0 and Dean’s List last semester is a testament to our students, as well as our wonderful staff at the Morgan Academic Center who work tirelessly to provide our students with the best conditions for success.Every member of Nittany Nation should be so proud of how our students represent our university, our athletics department, our alumni and our donors!”

Over 500 Nittany Lion Students Earn at Least 3.0 GPA for Fifth Consecutive Fall Semester

Five hundred and sixty-seven Nittany Lion students have posted a 3.0 GPA or higher in the fifth consecutive fall semester. Additionally, Russ Mushinsky, director of the Morgan Academic Center, reported that 289 student-athletes achieved Dean’s List status by posting at least 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits) during the fall semester.

Overall, Penn State student-athletes had a 3.14 GPA in the past semester.

Twenty-eight of Penn State’s 31 teams posted a team GPA of 3.30 or higher. A total of 65% of the 867 student-athletes enrolled in the fall achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester will be recognized in the men’s basketball game against No. 17 Michigan State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Women’s soccer boasts highest team GPA
The women’s soccer team recorded the highest team GPA among Penn State’s 31 programs during the fall with a GPA of 3.69, followed by women’s lacrosse (3.55), women’s gymnastics (3.53), women’s swimming and diving (3.51) and women’s tennis (3.45) . Men’s tennis had the highest GPA among men’s programs at 3.45.

Student-athletes with 3.0 GPA or higher; Fall semester, 2017-21

Fall 2021 – 567 (fall record and overall)
Fall 2020 – 742*
Fall 2019 – 535
Fall 2018 – 518
Fall 2017 – 520
* – alternative classification used due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Dean’s List Awarded Student-Athletes; Fall semester, 2017-21
(3.5 GPA or higher; minimum 12 credits)

Fall 2021 – 289 (fall record and overall)
Fall 2020 – 327*
Fall 2019 – 280
Fall 2018 – 239
Fall 2017 – 253
* – alternative classification used due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Penn State among the top athletic programs in the nation for overall excellence

Under Barbour’s leadership, Penn State has one of the most comprehensive and successful athletic programs in the nation, with 800 student-athletes in 31 varsity programs (16 men, 15 women). The Nittany Lions’ 31 programs are tied for the fourth-most institution-sponsored sports in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

Nittany Lion students posted an NCAA graduation pass rate (GSR) of 92%, a program record, in the most recent report. Ten teams earned a 100% graduation rate in the 2021 NCAA Graduation Rate Report. The Nittany Lions rank 4th among all Division I schools with 213 all-time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.

Penn State student-athletes have led the athletics department to 47 Big Ten championships and nine NCAA national championships since October 2013. Penn State is one of five schools to have won at least 10 NCAA championships since 2012 and obtained at least 90% diplomas. Success rate in the 2021 NCAA report (Stanford, Florida, USC, Virginia). The Nittany Lions rank fifth in the Learfield IMG College Manager’s Cup after the fall season.

Record NCAA degree completion rate
The NCAA’s 2021 Graduation Rate Report from Division I institutions across the country found that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus achieved a successful graduation rate (GSR ) by 92% to tie the school’s all-time record of 92, which was previously set in the NCAA’s 2020 report. Nittany Lion students posted a 92% graduation rate compared to the 89% average for all Division I institutions for incoming students from 2011-12 through the 2014-15 academic year.


Penn State student-athletes have had graduation success rates in the range of 88-92% in each of the last 15 NCAA reports, rising from 88% in the 2015 report to a record ratio of 92% in 2020 and 2021. Sixteen of the 27 Nittany Lions teams (men’s and women’s track and field/cross country teams combined) achieved a graduation pass rate equal to or greater than the National Division I GSR average for their respective sport. A total of 18 Penn State teams have a GSR of 90% or higher.