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March 7, 2006
Contact: Lisa Pinamonti Kress, Office of Admissions and Scholarships, (785) 864-5421.

KU moves up in National Merit scholar rankings to 12th in U.S.

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has moved up four spots to 12th among American public universities for number of freshman National Merit scholars enrolled in 2005.

KU enrolled 71 freshman National Merit scholars — 51 from Kansas — in 2005, up from 57 in 2004. More than 250 National Merit scholars are now studying at KU, which enrolls the most National Merit scholars in the state.

The growing rank reflects the rising academic quality of the KU student body. This year the average ACT composite score for first-time freshmen is 24.4, the best level in four years.

Harvard University tops the national list with 287 freshman National Merit scholars. The University of Texas-Austin follows with 262, the largest number among public universities. KU ranks 29th among all universities.

The National Merit scholarship is widely regarded as the most prestigious national award bestowed upon high school seniors. Fewer than 10,000 students of the 1.2 million who compete for the award, or fewer than 1 percent, receive National Merit scholarships. Recipients are chosen based on their academic abilities and records and extracurricular activities.

For fall 2005, all Kansans with these scholarships receive tuition and fees for 15 credits a semester plus a housing stipend, valued at about $8,900 for the academic year. Out-of-state students receive $10,000 in scholarships for the academic year. The scholarships are renewable. KU enrolls more Kansas students than any other university or college in the state and encourages more of the state’s top scholars to come to KU, graduate and stay in Kansas as they begin their careers.

For the names of the 2005-06 freshman National Merit scholars, visit www.news.ku.edu/2005/october/11/directory.shtml.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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