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.”