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Merrimack among top schools nationwide in NCAA ASR

The NCAA has released the latest Division II graduate rate data, and the Merrimack College Athletic Department once again was among the top schools nationwide after the data revealed the College’s student-athletes achieved an Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 89 percent for the second straight cycle.

Merrimack student-athletes graduated at an 89-percent clip in the latest publishing of the ASR, a mark that was among the top-six in the Northeast-10 Conference for the same cycle. The Warriors joined fellow Northeast-10 Conference institutions Assumption (93%), Bentley (98%), Saint Michael’s (98%), Saint Rose (91%) and Stonehill (97%) as programs that boasted 89-percent success rates or higher.

The 89-percent success figure, one that Merrimack also enjoyed a year ago, is the College’s fifth-best percentage since the inception of the ASR over a decade ago; Merrimack has surpassed the 90-percent threshold on four previous occasions, with the Department’s all-time best success rate of 92-percent coming in the 2011-12 and 2014-15 reports.

On the national level, Merrimack was tied for 40th-best ASR in all of Division II, as three other schools also finished with 89-percent success rates for this year’s reporting cycle.

The ASR, which this year took into account the last four cohorts combined (2007-10), or the classes entering between 2007 and 2010, is in its 12th year of existence. Since 2005-06, Merrimack has posted an ASR no lower than 81 percent, and in five of those years, Warrior student-athletes’ academic success rate had increased from the previous cycle.

Merrimack continued to record an ASR significantly higher than the NCAA Division II average, which this year was 72 percent. Eight of Merrimack’s 21 Division II programs that contributed to this year’s data had a perfect 100-percent ASR in the report: women’s cross country, women’s indoor and outdoor track & field, field hockey, women’s golf, women’s rowing, softball and women’s volleyball.

Overall, all 21 of Merrimack’s Division II programs that contributed to the report posted ASRs above the NCAA Division II average, with the lowest rate being 79 percent. Baseball and men’s tennis had the highest success rates on the men’s side at 91 percent, while all 12 women’s programs that were eligible to contribute data posted success rates of 92 percent or higher.

A searchable database for ASR information and federal reports for all NCAA Division II institutions is available by visiting here.

ABOUT THE ACADEMIC SUCCESS RATE (ASR)
This is the 12th year the NCAA has released the ASR. The NCAA developed the Division II ASR at the request of college and university presidents who believed the federal graduation rate was flawed. Division II’s ASR data takes transfer students into account and removes students who left the institution in good academic standing. In addition, given the partial-scholarship financial aid model of Division II, the ASR data includes student-athletes not on athletically related financial aid. The result is that ASR captures more than 36,000 non-scholarship student-athletes who enrolled from 2007 through 2010, the four years covered in the most recent data. Even when utilizing the less-inclusive federal rate, Division II student-athletes perform significantly better than the general student body. The federal rate for Division II student-athletes in the 2010 entering class held steady at 56 percent, while the general student body increased one point to 50 percent, a difference of six points. At the NCAA Convention in January 2014, the Division II membership approved a legislative package intended to increase student-athlete success and graduation rates. The package addresses a variety of academic standards, and includes adjustments to eligibility standards, progress-toward-degree requirements and standards for transfers from two-year colleges. Some of these new requirements are now in effect, and others will take effect in 2018.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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