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PSU leads Big Ten in graduation rates

Penn State's football team finished first in the Big Ten -- for the graduation rate of its 1999-2000 freshman class.

The Lions graduated 83 percent of that class, beating out Northwestern, which finished second at 79 percent. The national Division I-A average for that class is 55 percent.

Penn State's four-year graduation success rate for football is 80 percent, well above the I-A average of 66 percent.

The NCAA figures gave the entire Penn State athletic program an 86 percent graduation rate for those entering from 1996-97 through 1999-2000, above the I-A average of 78 percent.

"Penn State has always been a national leader in the graduation rate of our student-athletes," school president Graham Spanier said in a statement. "It is one of the hallmarks of our program, and something that brings pride to everyone at the university.

"This year's numbers show once again that our student-athletes are winning in the classroom as well as on the playing field."

Penn State also scored well with graduation rates for 1996-97 through 1999-2000 of 95 percent for women athletes compared with an 88 percent average, and 77 percent for African-American athletes, compared with a national I-A average of 61 percent.

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