Nov. 4, 2015 02:25 PM

For the third consecutive year, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns student athletes continued their excellence in the classroom as they posted the highest graduation rate among public institutions in the state while tying for the top mark among Sun Belt Conference schools in the latest Federal Graduation Rate Report, which was released Wednesday by the NCAA.

Ragin’ Cajuns student athletes posted a four-year Federal Graduation Rate of 65 percent, a 1 percent improvement from last year’s average and tops among the state’s 11 Division I public institutions, UL confirmed in a press release. The Ragin’ Cajuns Student-Athlete Graduation Success Rate also increased from the previous year, improving four points to 80 percent.

The statistics include student athletes on aid entering school during the 2008-09 academic year, and it indicates the percentage of those who graduate within six years.

From the UL press release:

“For the third consecutive year, our student-athletes are graduating at a higher rate than any other public university in the state of Louisiana and among our fellow Sun Belt Conference peers,” Associate Athletic Director Dr. Jessica Leger said. “This accomplishment is a testament to the academic commitment demonstrated daily by our student-athletes, coaches, and academic support staff.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns women’s soccer team led both the state of Louisiana and the Sun Belt Conference in the GSR (100 percent) and FGR (78 percent) with women’s basketball (80 percent) and softball (80 percent) each posting the top marks in the FGR among state schools. The Ragin’ Cajuns softball team also finished tied for first in the SBC, and was second among state schools, in the GSR with a 95-percent mark.

In the GSR, the Ragin’ Cajuns football team was tied for first among Sun Belt schools at 78 percent while finishing as the top public institution in the state. The Ragin’ Cajuns men’s golf team was third among state schools in the GSR (79 percent).

In the FGR, Louisiana finished second overall among SBC and state public universities in football (66 percent) with the Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team finishing second among state schools (50 percent). Among SBC schools, the men’s track and field/cross country (62 percent) finished third with men’s basketball team (50 percent) finishing tied for third.

In the latest Academic Progess Rate (APR) that was released in May, all of the Ragin’ Cajuns 16 varsity sports exceeded the required cutoff point of 930. Twelve sports scored above a 960 on the multi-year average, with the men’s cross country team honored by the NCAA as one of 11 athletic programs in the state of Louisiana and over 1,100 programs nationally to record a perfect 1,000

“What makes our department unique is that we have a policy that each head coach is directly responsible for overseeing the academic progress of each student-athlete involved in the program,” Leger said. “This philosophy is a primary contributor to the academic achievements of our student-athletes. Our coaches primarily focus on competition and practice, but they also understand the importance of academics and impress high expectations on their teams.

“In conjunction with support from our head coaches, our academic support staff has worked tirelessly to provide our student-athletes with quality academic support services that aid in achieving academic success.”

Both the GSR and FGR are based on the number of student-athletes on athletics aid enrolling in school each year. A number of variables may impact these figures, such as student-athletes who opt for professional or educational opportunities outside of their original institution, coaching staff changes, and student-athletes in good academic standing who choose to leave school early.

The FGR is mandated by the U.S. Government and reflects the number of scholarship student-athletes who enter an institution in a specific academic year and graduate from that same institution within six academic years. It does not factor in transfer students leaving or entering an institution; the FGR counts transfers simply as non-graduates and therefore is typically lower than the GSR.

The GSR was developed by the NCAA as part of its academic reform initiative to more accurately measure the academic success of Division I student-athletes by better accounting for the many different academic paths followed by today’s college students. It accounts for students who transfer into an institution, and does not penalize institutions that have student-athletes who choose to transfer out while still in good academic standing. The NCAA began collecting GSR data with the entering freshman class of 1995.