University of Nebraska enrollment hits 18-year high
Enrollment passes 50,000 for first time since 1993.

University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken announced today that NU’s enrollment has reached its highest total in 18 years, exceeding 50,000 students for the first time since 1993. Milliken said that while he is pleased the university’s enrollment has increased for seven consecutive years now, the rate of growth will need to increase if NU is to achieve its ambitious goals for enrollment in the coming years.

Total enrollment at NU’s four campuses plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis is 50,352 this fall, approximately 1 percent higher than last year. Undergraduate enrollment – a key metric for the university – grew slightly, as did enrollment among graduate and professional students. But enrollment of first-time freshmen, another important metric, fell slightly.

“One of the best ways we can ensure that Nebraska remains competitive in today’s global, knowledge-based economy is by educating a higher share of our own residents and attracting talented people from other states and other countries,” Milliken said. “I am encouraged that a growing number of students are enrolling at the University of Nebraska, but we will need to pick up the pace to meet our goals.”

Milliken added, “By the time we celebrate our 150th anniversary at the end of this decade, I envision a much larger University of Nebraska, doing even more to positively impact the lives of our citizens and the economy of the state. But we will need to increase the rate of growth if we are to meet our goals – especially campus goals for UNL to enroll 30,000 students by 2017 and UNO to enroll 20,000 students by 2020.”

Milliken pointed out that a recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that the United States will need to produce 20 million more postsecondary-educated workers by 2025 to keep up with current and future demands. Georgetown also has found that by 2018, two-thirds of jobs in Nebraska will require some college education – the seventh-highest share in the country.

“If we are to meet these challenges, we will need to encourage more of our young people to pursue a college degree,” Milliken said. “This will require a coordinated effort between leaders in education, business and government. We’re making important progress on this front in Nebraska thanks to the work of the P-16 Initiative, which the Governor chairs, and other efforts – but our work is not done. We must grow Nebraska’s college-going rate and implement new strategies to ensure that students can graduate on time and with the skills they need to contribute to Nebraska’s economic growth.”

Maintaining affordable access for Nebraska students – the highest priority of the Board of Regents and one of the eight P-16 goals – will continue to be critical as NU works to attract more students, Milliken said. In addition, growing enrollment among out-of-state, international and distance-education students will be key.

Milliken noted that tuition at each of the university’s campuses remains significantly below the peer average. NU also invested $10.4 million from its operating budget in need-based financial aid this year, including Collegebound Nebraska, which provides free tuition for qualifying students. Generally, a Nebraska student from a family of four with one in college and an income of about $53,000 or less is eligible to receive support from Collegebound Nebraska.

Highlights of this year’s enrollment statistics:
  • 1 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment, including a 5.4 percent increase among undergraduates at UNK.
  • 0.6 percent increase in graduate enrollment.
  • 0.8 percent increase in enrollment in professional programs.
  • The seventh straight record-high enrollment at UNMC.
University-wide enrollment totals:
  • First-time freshmen: 6,953 (0.6 percent decrease)
  • Undergraduate students: 38,088 (1 percent increase)
  • Graduate students: 9,829 (0.6 percent increase)
  • Professional students: 2,435 (0.8 percent increase)
  • Total enrollment (including NCTA): 50,352 (0.9 percent increase)
  • Total enrollment (excluding NCTA): 50,019 (1 percent increase)
Campus enrollment totals:
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 24,593 (0.1 percent decrease)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: 14,712 (0.3 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: 7,100 (5.1 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: 3,614 (3.5 percent increase)
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: 333 (13.1 percent decrease)
A chart containing a summary of enrollment data is attached. Figures are based on a student census taken on the sixth day of classes. Complete enrollment statistics, including those for out-of-state, minority and international students, will be available later in the fall.

Fall 2011 Preliminary Enrollment

Number Change-1712147347498-50448
Percentage Change-0.1%3.5%0.3%5.1%1.0%-13.1%0.9%

First-Time Freshmen*
Number Change18-5-58-45
Percentage Change0.4% -0.3%-5.1%-0.6%

Number Change-3846131280419
Percentage Change-0.2%4.8%1.1%5.4%1.1%

Number Change5917-846759
Percentage Change1.3%2.3%-3.0%4.2%0.6%

Number Change-385820
Percentage Change-6.3%3.2% 0.8%

*Enrollment breakouts by level do not include NCTA

Contact: Melissa Lee
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