In the Big Ten, Penn State trailed only Northwestern, which had a graduation rate of 97 percent. The major college average was 68 percent.
The overall Graduation Success Rate as measured by the NCAA for all Penn State athletes was 88 percent. The Division I average was 80 percent.
"Penn State student-athletes have long represented the best in intercollegiate sports, with high caliber team play and outstanding scholarship," university President Rodney Erickson said. "This is a real credit to our student athletes, coaches and the staff members who support their academic success."
The NCAA in July levied landmark sanctions on Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, including a four-year postseason ban and steep scholarship cuts. NCAA President Mark Emmert drew the ire of some alumni and fans for criticizing a "football-first culture."
The NCAA, in citing Penn State's report on the scandal conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, said in July there was an "unprecedented failure of institutional integrity leading to a culture in which a football program was held in higher esteem than the values of the institution, the values of the NCAA, the values of higher education, and most disturbingly the values of human decency.
The Penn State athletics statement on Thursday made no reference to the sanctions or the NCAA's previous statements related to the scandal.
Making sure players are given the "best possible avenues" to get a degree is the top priority, first-year coach Bill O'Brien said Thursday night on his radio show in response to a question from the audience about academics.
"It's something that we talk to them about every day," O'Brien said. "Where's the proof? The proof is in the pudding, right?"
O'Brien said his players were in study hall while he was on the air. Penn State (5-2, 3-0) hosts No. 9 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) in a key Big Ten game Saturday night.