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U of M graduation rate improving fast

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Four-year graduation rates at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities are nearly at goal, according to the Star Tribune. A report for the Board of Regents' Thursday meeting says the 2012 rate was 59.1 percent, close to the goal of 60 percent.

The five-year rate was 75.5 percent, according to Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education.

Twenty years ago, the four-year rate was only 15 percent, and the five-year rate just 37 percent.

McMaster said the university has been working hard to improve graduation rates. It has become "much more selective" in admissions. Incoming freshman have higher ACT scores and high school rankings than a decade ago.

New orientation and advising programs help students manage full course-loads, which are needed to graduate in four years.

The university graduation rate is in the middle of the Big Ten, according to ESPN, with Northwestern first and Purdue last. Minnesota came in behind Indiana and ahead of Wisconsin.

Asked if he considered that a success, McMaster said: “Absolutely. … We always like to be ahead of Wisconsin.”

The Twin Cities campus rates No. 69 among national universities in U.S. News and World Reports. In addition to graduation rates, that ranking takes into account tuition, teacher-student ratio, lifestyle and other factors.

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