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Freshman retention at all-time high

October 19, 2011 - Faculty Senate Philomena Mantella and Stephen Zoloth present PHOTO: Christopher Huang / Northeastern University

Ninety-five percent of last year’s freshman class returned to campus for their sophomore year, the highest rate in Northeastern’s history and a number on par with other top universities nationwide.

“When you get to 95 (percent retention after freshmen year), you’re in the nation’s top 25 or 30 institutions,” said Philomena Mantella, Northeastern’s senior vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, speaking yesterday to the Faculty Senate.

Mantella provided a range of other statistics to show the high quality of Northeastern’s newest students, including a mean SAT score of 1341 and the fact that more than half of this year’s freshmen graduated in the top 10 percent of their high-school class. There are also 108 national merit and national achievement scholars in the new freshman class.

“Although we describe it in terms of numbers, what we’re really trying to achieve is a class that is diverse, talented, engaged, driven, socially conscious, innovative and entrepreneurial,” Mantella said. “We look at students beyond the numbers.”

Also at yesterday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Dean of Academic Affairs for External Programs Stephen Zoloth spoke about expansion of the university’s graduate programs to regions outside of Boston. Zoloth explained that a “hybrid delivery” model—the integration of online and classroom learning—would be a key characteristic of off-site graduate programs.

Asked what was driving the university’s efforts to expand to other regions, Zoloth said, “It’s entirely consistent with our mission to engage the world.”