U aims for more out-of-state students

Currently, nearly 70 percent of U students are from Minnesota.

Andrew Johnson

The University of Minnesota is looking to tap into prospective students beyond the stateâÄôs borders.

Nearly 70 percent of University undergraduates are from Minnesota, and Office of Admissions Director Wayne Sigler and his staff are looking to change that.

Only 6.5 percent of the student body is from somewhere other than Minnesota and the three states receiving reciprocity: North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Although all 50 states are represented on campus, the school is looking to enhance national recruitment, primarily to benefit the stateâÄôs future workforce.

“WeâÄôve found that if students graduate from the University, then there is a very good chance that they will choose to stay here [in Minnesota] after graduation,” said Sigler. “The University is a talent magnet.”

Illinois has received most of the attention from the Office of Admissions lately, Sigler said, but there have also been efforts focused beyond the Midwest, specifically targeting Southern California and Texas.

Sigler credited IllinoisâÄô size and population as part of the reason for the attention. The stateâÄôs proximity âÄî itâÄôs a five-or six-hour drive or an hour-long flight âÄî is also incentive for students.

The admissions office will host its first Prospective Illinois Student Calling Night of the semester today. It will hold a second one later this month. Current University students from Illinois will call prospective students to provide a personal testimonial to high school seniors interested in attending.

Laura Favreau, a senior admissions counselor, said about 10 students will be making calls.

Favreau, who works closely with Illinois recruitment, said a current studentâÄôs perspective is valuable for prospective students and their families.

It gives them a “sense of the experience here on campus,” said Rachelle Hernandez, associate
director of admissions.

Hernandez said they also use alumni to promote the campus to out-of-state students. Some alumni host send-off parties to congratulate admitted students and are another source of insight into life on campus.

But the divided concentration of the Office of Admissions does not mean itâÄôs passing over Minnesota high school students, Sigler said.

“Our first priority is, and will always be, students from the state of Minnesota,” he said. “We work to keep about two-thirds of the freshman class from the state.”

While the University puts “a vast majority of its recruitment” into Minnesota, the Office of Admissions focuses on states with reciprocity as well.

Students from Wisconsin make up approximately 15 percent of the undergraduate student body. People from North and South Dakota constitute just over 2 percent.

The long-standing reciprocity agreements are not the only examples of the Office of Admissions using reduced tuition to recruit out of state.

The University also engages in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, a tuition-reduction program for participating institutions in the Midwest. It also includes Kansas, Missouri, Michigan and
Nebraska.

This year, the nonresidents pay $16,669, about $4,300 more than Minnesota residents. The University offers the lowest nonresident tuition rate in the Big Ten âÄî $10,000 less than the Big Ten average.

Sigler said having diversity within the student body benefits Minnesotans and students from out of state.

“We really believe, strongly, that having more national and international students greatly enriches the educational and social climate,” he said.