University of Nebraska enrollment reaches 21-year high

September 8, 2014

Interim University of Nebraska President James Linder, M.D., announced today that NU’s enrollment has grown to its highest level in 21 years, an important step forward as the university aims to produce more talented graduates who can meet the state’s workforce needs.

Total enrollment at NU’s four campuses plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis is 51,215 this year, a 1 percent increase over fall 2013 and the highest level since 1993.

Enrollment of first-time freshmen – a key group – rose 2.2 percent, while overall undergraduate enrollment grew 0.9 percent. Enrollment of graduate students also increased.

“An increase in the university’s enrollment is good news for Nebraska,” Linder said. “Our students go on to work at leading companies around the state, start their own businesses, and become productive members of their communities. We’re grateful that more students and families are choosing the University of Nebraska, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure they receive an excellent education that prepares them to succeed in their careers and their lives.”

Linder noted that the university’s enrollment growth goals are in line with the needs of Nebraska’s economy. According to the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce, by 2020 71 percent of all jobs in Nebraska will require postsecondary education – seventh-highest among all U.S. states. Currently less than 40 percent of Nebraskans ages 25 and over hold at least an associate’s degree; another 290,000 – or a quarter of working-age Nebraskans – have completed some college but not earned a degree.

The University of Nebraska, which graduates about 10,000 students annually, has a responsibility to play a leading role in meeting that need, Linder said.

Ensuring affordable access to excellent education for all Nebraskans who are qualified and want to attend will continue to be NU’s highest priority. Tuition and fees on all four campuses are well below the peer average, and resident tuition for 2014-15 was frozen for the second year in a row. Linder noted that most students do not pay the “sticker price,” with more than half of all undergraduates receiving some type of grant aid that does not need to be repaid. That includes Collegebound Nebraska, the financial aid program that guarantees full tuition coverage for qualifying low-income students. About 7,000 NU students are now eligible for Collegebound Nebraska.

The university also is expanding its outreach to students who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education. NU announced earlier this year plans to significantly increase the number of students participating in its Virtual Scholars program, which provides free online courses to Nebraska high schoolers; expand its communication about college planning to middle school students; and grow the number of incoming students participating in summer “bridge” programs.

Attracting more students from out of state, including international students, also will be key to continuing to grow enrollment. Additionally, the university intends to expand access to online education to more students through the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. Providing flexible, high-quality options for Nebraskans who want to complete their degree is a key strategy in increasing educational attainment in the state.

The University of Nebraska’s fall 2014 enrollment totals are as follows:

Campus enrollment totals

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 25,006 (2.3 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: 15,227 (no change)
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: 6,902 (2.1 percent decrease)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: 3,696 (0.4 percent increase)
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: 384 (28 percent increase)

University-wide enrollment totals

  • Undergraduate students: 38,708 (0.9 percent increase)
  • First-time freshmen: 7,490 (2.2 percent increase)
  • Graduate students: 9,653 (1.9 percent increase)
  • Professional students: 2,854 (1.1 percent decrease)
  • Total enrollment including NCTA: 51,215 (1 percent increase)
  • Total enrollment not including NCTA: 50,831 (0.8 percent increase)

Download the full chart containing a summary of enrollment data. Figures are based on a student census taken on the sixth day of classes.

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska