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Duquesne Named a ‘Most Popular’ National School for Second Year

For the second consecutive year, Duquesne University is among the Most Popular nationally ranked universities, says U.S. News and World Report.

To compile its list, U.S. News looked at how many students are enrolled at a school compared to how many students have applied at these national, research-oriented universities that offer degrees of all levels.

"One of the best indicators of a school's popularity among students is the school's yield-the percentage of applicants accepted by a college who end up enrolling at that institution in the fall," said the website.

Based upon figures from Fall 2009, the new U.S. News list shows that Duquesne accepted 5,054 students and enrolled 1,432 students for a 28.3 percent yield.

These figures were comparative to Carnegie Mellon University, which accepted 5,132 students and enrolled 1,423 for a 27.7 percent yield.

The even bigger picture shows that Duquesne held its academic integrity and poise during a time of change and uncertainty in the educational marketplace-thanks, in a large part, to guidance from Duquesne's strategic plans, said Paul-James Cukanna, associate provost for enrollment management.

"The economy brought a great movement across the nation to lower-priced institutions, as many families looked to public education," Cukanna said. "While we faced strong competition simply on the basis of price, Duquesne also had a desire to be more selective academically, so we were looking at brighter students who had more educational choices. With our diversity initiative, we also were looking at students who had many options before them. We encounter more competition for these students; we're not the only ones trying to enroll a more diverse student body to meet our mission and strategic plan objectives.

"Despite economic turmoil, Duquesne maintained a standard for high SAT scores, better-qualified students, greater diversity-and more students from outside our traditional market regions," Cukanna said.

Duquesne continues to enroll historically large classes while enrolling a student body with SAT scores above the national average and far above the state average. For instance, Duquesne's Fall 2010 class has an SAT average of 1129, compared with a 1017 national average and a 993 state SAT average.

"Our success was not random; it was part of the design of the initial strategic plan that the president laid out when he came to Duquesne," Cukanna said. "The first strategic plan laid out the pathway of how we would perform and be perceived by key constituencies in the marketplace, and now we are moving into the second Strategic Plan."

Duquesne's ability to maintain high academic standards and remain a first-choice school for the majority of its students, Cukanna said, "speaks to the renewed market position of our University, to what people now associate with our brand, with the experience that is Duquesne University, and to our strategic location. We have a location in which students want to come to study, and that gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace and beyond Pittsburgh."

Most of Duquesne students come from across Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Cukanna said, but more are enrolling from New England states, Florida, California and Puerto Rico.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.