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U uses report as myth-busting machine

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: September 14, 2012 - 2:41 PM

Each year, University of Minnesota officials present to the Board of Regents a hefty "accountability" report that delves into topics including enrollment, class sizes and dissertation fellowships.

It can get a little dry.

But this time, U leaders turned the draft report's 150 pages into 15 myths they then debunked, one by one. The first: "It takes forever to graduate from the U. No one graduates in four years."

"It's just not true," Provost Karen Hanson said at Friday's regents meeting.

The Twin Cities campus' four-year graduation rate hit 57.2 percent in 2012, the report shows -- up from 28.9 percent of the class that started in 1998. The university had set a goal of 60 percent by 2012.

The most recent six-year graduation rate is now 72.9 percent, according to the report. The goal is 80 percent by 2014.

Here are a few other myths, with the U's explanation of why they're not true:

Classes at the U are huge and mostly taught in large lecture halls.

About "38 percent of undergraduate classes on the Twin Cities campus have fewer than 20 students, and 13 percent have more than 100 students."

The U isn't diverse, just a bunch of Scandinavians.

"Across all campuses student enrollment is 15 percent students of color and another 9 percent are international students. For the Twin Cities campus, the in-state freshman class is 23 percent students of color."

The U is so hard to get into that it no longer represents Minnesota.

"The majority of our students are from Minnesota." The report shows that 69.1 percent of Twin Cities undergraduates are from Minnesota, compared to 71.7 percent in 2006.

      

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