University of Nebraska enrollment reaches 22 year high

September 8, 2015

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds announced today that NU’s enrollment has grown to its highest level in 22 years, marking progress toward the Board of Regents’ goals to expand access to education to Nebraskans and attract more talent to the state to meet workforce needs.

Total enrollment at the university’s four campuses plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is 51,835, a 1.2 percent increase over last fall and the highest since 1993. University-wide enrollment in each major category – undergraduates, first-time freshmen, graduate students and professional students – grew, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center and NCTA all have record-high enrollments this year. The University of Nebraska at Omaha has its largest incoming and freshman classes ever, and the student bodies at UNO, UNL and the University of Nebraska at Kearney are reaching new milestones in racial diversity, among other highlights.

“Enrollment growth at the University of Nebraska is good news for our state, particularly given today’s extremely competitive higher education marketplace,” Bounds said. “I’m pleased that more students and families are taking advantage of the quality education and great value that our campuses provide. In my view, Nebraska is best served by a much larger public university that is doing more to transform lives through education, research and engagement. If the University of Nebraska is to be a true giant in higher education, we need to be even more sharply focused on strategies that will allow us to grow.”

Bounds noted that in the next few years, more than 70 percent of all jobs in Nebraska will require education beyond high school. The state’s only public university will play a leading role in meeting that need.

Continued enrollment growth starts with ensuring that every Nebraska student who is qualified and wants to attend the university can do so, Bounds said. Affordable access to quality education, the Board’s highest priority, will continue to be a primary focus. Currently, tuition and fees at the NU campuses are at least 25 percent below the peer average. More than half of all NU undergraduates receive financial aid, including 7,000 resident students who qualify for full tuition coverage through the Collegebound Nebraska program. The university also will keep working to expand access for students who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, including first-generation, minority, low-income and rural students.

Providing a smooth path for students who want to transfer to an NU campus and attracting many more students from other states and around the world also will be critical to growing enrollment and expanding the talent base in Nebraska, Bounds said.

Additionally, the university will continue to focus on reaching more students in the state and beyond through its online programs. Bounds noted that distance learning is a key strategy for increasing educational attainment among adult learners, military students and other nontraditional students, as well as the 290,000 Nebraskans who have completed some college but have not earned a degree. More than 100 programs are available through the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide

The University of Nebraska’s fall 2015 enrollment totals are as follows: 

Campus enrollment totals 

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 25,260 (1 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: 15,526 (2 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: 6,747 (2.2 percent decrease)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: 3,790 (2.5 percent increase)
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: 512 (33.3 percent increase) 

University-wide enrollment totals 

  • Undergraduate students: 39,175 (1.2 percent increase)
  • First-time freshmen: 7,573 (1.1 percent increase)
  • Graduate students: 9,732 (0.8 percent increase)
  • Professional students: 2,928 (2.6 percent increase)
  • Total enrollment including NCTA: 51,835 (1.2 percent increase) 

A chart containing a full summary of enrollment data can be downloaded below. Figures are based on a student census taken on the sixth day of classes.

Fall 2015 Preliminary Enrollment

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