The National Collegiate Athletic Association has recently declared Fairfield University as the 12th highest Graduation Success Rate amongst student athletes in the nation.  Additionally, Fairfield has the highest GSR of all 11 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference colleges and universities.

A considerable improvement has been made since 17 of Fairfield’s varsity programs are above the national average of Division I student-athletes that enrolled between 2003-06, with 15 of those programs having a success rate of 100 percent.  In fact, Fairfield has consistently upheld a GSR of 94 percent or higher since the NCAA’s inception.

According to, the GSR measures graduation over six years from initial college enrollment, meaning Fairfield should be expected to continue upholding their excelled standards for years to come.

The overall GSR for Fairfield is 81 percent, which is also calculated through a grouping that maintains the stats within the last six years.  While both are very respectable GSR’s, there is a noticeable difference between the two with athletes seeming to have the advantage.

“It’s like comparing apples and oranges,” said Director of Admission Karen Pellegrino.  “There’s a lot of factors that contribute to a student’s success once they get here.”

Looking at Fairfield’s records of first-year acceptance, it has generally been accepting more students within the past few years, from 60 percent acceptance of applications in 2006 compared to 71 percent acceptance of applications in 2012.  In turn, the sizes of our incoming classes have been increasing.

The class of 2016 enrolled 990 students, the largest amount of students Fairfield has accepted since 2000; this year Fairfield enrolled 963 freshman students.  Pellegrino attributes the number of increasing applicants to the talented applicant pool.

“I think that we make some very good decisions in the admissions process,” said Pellegrino.  “Our staff reviews applications holistically, we never base our decision solely on a final GPA a student has.”

However, there are other benefits to being an athlete.  Sophomore Jeannette Eckelman, on the women’s rowing team had missed her application deadline and was able to make it in on behalf of her coach’s recommendation.

“I don’t think they would have done that if I didn’t have my head coach supporting me,” said Eckelman.

There are athletic scholarships available that are not connected to the normal merit scholarship process as well as those associated with need, just as there are with non-athletes. Some sports involve full scholarships such as men’s and women’s basketball.  Partial scholarships are awarded at a coach’s discretion and are based on whether the students are admissible to the University.

All students are able to capitalize on Fairfield’s success, no matter their other obligations. Athletics and academics are just two out of several aspects that make up a Fairfield student. “We believe in the education of the whole person,” said Pellegrino.

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