Fueled by one of the largest freshman class in its history, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's total enrollment increased to 24,445 in fall 2013 -- a 1 percent increase over last year.
The 4,420 first-time freshmen represent an increase of 483 students, or 12.3 percent, in the number of freshmen from fall 2012, officials said.
"There has been an extraordinary effort across the campus to increase enrollment as our first priority and I am excited about these very positive results," said Chancellor Harvey Perlman, who has set a goal for UNL to raise its enrollment to 30,000 students by 2017. "We are on our way to achieving our ambitions."
The enrollment growth comes despite the departure of the second-largest graduating class in the history of the university in 2012-13. In fact, three of UNL's largest graduating classes have been in the past three years: There were 4,935 graduates in the 2010-11 school year; 5,139 in 2011-12; and 5,050 in 2012-13 for a three-year total of 15,124 graduates.
This fall, UNL also saw an overall increase in undergraduates -- 19,376 total, or an increase of 273 students (1.4 percent) over last year.
Colleges seeing the highest percentage undergraduate enrollment growth this fall were Business Administration, 6.7 percent; Agriculture and Natural Resources, 5.2 percent; Journalism and Mass Communications, 4.7 percent; and Architecture, 4.5 percent. The largest increase in the percentage of graduate students also came from Agriculture and Natural Resources, at 6.4 percent.
"These numbers are a reflection of the hard work of the staff in the Office of Admissions and the commitment to student recruitment from the entire campus," said Alan Cerveny, dean of enrollment management. "The size of this year's freshman class should make it clear to everyone in Lincoln and across the state that UNL is serious about enrollment growth."
Amber Williams, director of UNL's Office of Admissions, said students from across the state and world are considering the university because of its academic reputation and its affordability.
"Recruiting for such an amazing university makes my job easier," Williams said. "The fall 2013 freshman class is a testament to the UNL faculty, staff, and alumni."