The Big Story Blog

Minnesota's University of Wisconsin desire

Posted at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Education

In football, the University of Wisconsin is superior to the University of Minnesota. No other way to put that. Wisconsin's beat-down of the Gophers Saturday in Minneapolis was just the latest example.

But it's also the case that in key academic measures, the U has been chasing Wisconsin for years without much luck.

The U for years has published an accountability report where, among other stats, it compares the Twin Cities campus to similar institutions across the country. The U has made a huge effort in recent years to recruit top high school seniors and boost overall graduation rates. While it's had some success, it's done little to improve its standing among its peers, including Wisconsin.

Data from the U's most recent accountability report show when it comes to graduation rates and freshman entering from the top 10 percent and top 25 percent of their high school classes, the U remains at or near the bottom of its peer group and far behind Madison.

Not all the comparisons are bad.The U is showing some muscle attracting National Merit Scholars.


Still, it remains a tough climb for the U to match Wisconsin in academic data or in the academic beauty contest that is the U.S. News college rankings, where the U Twin Cities this year comes in at 68 and Madison is ranked 42.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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