Institutions like the University of Minnesota are targeting below-average students who can pay full tuition, according to a new study.

More than half of public doctoral universities said they have focused on searching for "full-pay" students — those who can afford to pay the full tuition amount, according to the 2011 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College & University Admissions Directors.

Full-pay students are admitted with lower grades and test scores than other applicants, said 10 percent of admissions directors surveyed.

Recruiting more full-pay students was listed as the second-most important strategy in undergraduate admissions efforts in the next few years. About 47 percent reported it was a key strategy, second only to recruiting more out-of-state students.

Providing adequate financial aid lagged behind at less than 40 percent.