College athletes are graduating at better rates than non-athletes, according to new statistics released Tuesday by the NCAA.

The annual report shows 84 percent of freshmen players who entered school in 2007-08 earned degrees within six years. That's a 2 percentage point increase over the previous one-year record high, set in 2006-07. The four-year average is 82 percent, also a record.

NCAA President Mark Emmert notes the one-year numbers improved in nearly every demographic, too. He calls it the best academic performance since the NCAA started tracking numbers with the 1995-96 freshmen.

Critics complain the numbers are skewed because athletes have more access to academic help than traditional students and scholarship athletes do not face the same financial burdens that force other students to drop out of school.