U’s undergrad applications up

Jake Weyer

Despite rising tuition, the University is on track to receive a record number of undergraduate applications this year, officials said.

The Board of Regents’ Educational Planning and Policy

Committee discussed tuition rates for University students Thursday, including rates for resident and nonresident undergraduate, graduate and law students.

The committee also addressed how the University’s tuition rates compare to other Big Ten universities and how the rates impact current and prospective students.

Since the 2002-03 school year, University tuition rose 13 percent, or $819, for undergraduate students who take more than 13 credits per semester. Despite the increase, the number of applications the University received by Nov. 8 is up 10 percent – 680 applications – from Nov. 9, 2002, according to a presentation by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Craig Swan, Executive Vice President and Provost Christine Maziar and Institutional Research and Reporting director Peter Zetterberg to the Board of Regents subcommittee.

Swan said more students are coming to the University largely because of improvements to the undergraduate experience, including more course offerings, better classrooms and building renovations.

Swan said the University’s undergraduate and graduate tuition rates are average when compared to other Big Ten universities.

The only rates noticeably higher than other universities are for professional students studying law, medicine and business.

Swan said his biggest concern is attracting out-of-state students. Nonresident undergraduate tuition at schools such as the University of Iowa and The Ohio State University is thousands of dollars less than nonresident tuition at the University, according to information Swan provided at the meeting.

He said the University attempts to keep tuition rates level while recruiting more aggressively out of state.

Maziar said the quality of University education is worth the cost.

“I don’t think it’s a good bargain for Minnesota students to trade off quality for lower tuition,” Maziar said.

Wayne Sigler, director of the University’s Office of Admissions, said the University received a record number of undergraduate applications in 2002, with 15,878 about one week after the Dec. 15 priority deadline. The University received 17,355 undergraduate applications in the 2002-03 academic year.

The University is on track to surpass that record, but it is too early to say for sure, Sigler said. About 85 percent of the applications are received around the priority deadline.

“We’re very grateful for the strong interest in the University,” Sigler said. “But we don’t take it for granted because we realize the students here could go many other places.”