Incoming class rank up

Elizabeth Cook

The average high school rank of incoming first-year students increased this year, the University’s Board of Regents announced Thursday.

On the Twin Cities campus, the class of 2010, on average, ranked in the 83.2 percentile of their high school class. Last year’s incoming first-year students ranked at the 81.2 percentile, while 10 years ago students entered the University at the 75.2 percentile.

Students’ average ACT scores also increased from last year to 25.2. Last year’s students scored 25.1 on average, and 24.3 10 years ago, Regent Dallas Bohnsack said.

There were also more applications for enrollment this year, Bohnsack said.

Admittance of first-year students was up 4 percent on all campuses. Of the 24,658 first-year students that applied to the Twin Cities campus, 5,439 were accepted.

“The reason we’re improving our undergraduate rates can be attributed to our policy and tuition structure,” Bohnsack said.

He said offering free credits to students taking more than 13 is one way to encourage faster graduation rates.

The free credit policy helps attract highly motivated students who are willing to do the extra work and graduate in four years, he said.

The University plans to fulfill new graduation goals by improving the academic preparedness of students, giving more attention to advising, mentoring and writing, offering undergraduate education based on the University’s mission of research and setting clearer paths for students to graduate.

On Thursday the regents also:

u Presented background information pertaining to the benefits of commercializing University research faster.

Bohnsack said the policies “would give us more ways to get that information and intellectual property to the business world faster.”

The finance and operations committee suggested raising the minimum bid amount that requires Regents approval.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said regents had a “very positive” response and suggested raising the amount for construction purchases even higher.

Regent Steven Hunter called the measures “best practices,” based on standards set by surrounding cities and counties.

Regents will make a decision in December after the committee presents more information about how many more projects would not be competitively bid on if the minimum was raised, Pfutzenreuter said.

Regents also approved New York-based finance company the Lehman Brothers to underwrite for the state-supported stadium bonds.

The decision to award the contract will go before the Board on Friday. Some have said the contract, valued at more than half a million dollars, should go to a local firm.

Regents toured Crookston’s Centennial Hall, a $3.5 million residence hall with an apartment setting that opened this semester.

Friday’s meeting will be webcast live at 9 a.m. at www.umn.edu/regents.