YSU hopes to increase graduation rate with more selective freshm - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

YSU hopes to increase graduation rate with more selective freshmen class

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Since Jim Tressel took over as YSU President, the university is trying to attract more students from well outside the Mahoning Valley.

1,400 high school students from all over Ohio and 7 other states took part in YSU's crash day on Friday. It's a program designed to showcase the campus and it's programs to prospective students.  Just a couple years ago the university would get less than half that.

But things are changing at YSU since they started being selective about admissions.
They are getting more students from outside the valley, many looking for lower college costs.  YSU boasts the third lowest tuition in the state.

YSU President, Jim Tressel says, "We have great quality academic programs, great engagement from our faculty.  One of the things we get concerned about it student debt and we can do a great job in helping students get that debt very low or zero."

And most importantly YSU is now seeing improvements with freshman retention rates. 

YSU Associate VP for Enrollment, Gary Swegan says "Last year in fact it went from 67% to 73%. I've done this for over 30 years and I've never seen an increase of more than 2% a year until this year so we're excited about the direction in which we are headed."

Improved freshman retention rates is expected to increase their overall 4-year graduation rate which a few years ago stood at just 10% when they still had open admission.

Prospective freshman students we talked to say they like what they see at YSU.
Jasma Doss of Cleveland, says there is something specific about the university that she likes. "Physics and astronomy. I really love it. I want to be an astrophysicist so I want a strong connection with physics and astronomy and mathematics."

Terry Stockton of Jackson-Milton, says, "I want to be successful in life. A lot of people who come here can do it with their engineering program. It's one of the best in the country."

So far applications for YSU are up over 60% for next fall's admission.  Current enrollment for YSU's fall 2015 semester is 12,471 students.

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