University of Nebraska enrollment down 2.2 percent

Thomas Lilly smiles as his roommate Luke Haberman walks backwards as they carry their futon...
Thomas Lilly smiles as his roommate Luke Haberman walks backwards as they carry their futon into Schramm Hall. Residence Hall Move In on city campus Harper Schramm Smith Residence Halls. August 17, 2017. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 9:15 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 9:29 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Enrollment for the 2022 fall semester is down 2.2 percent at the University of Nebraska.

Across all campuses, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, University of Nebraska - Omaha, University of Nebraska - Kearney, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, a total of 49,560 students enrolled this semester.

The most significant drop was seen at the University of Nebraska - Kearney, which saw a 3.7 percent dip. UNL saw a 2.6 percent decrease.

“The University of Nebraska has not been immune to challenges facing colleges and universities across the country,” NU President Ted Carter said. “But the fact is, Nebraska needs and expects its public university to grow. The University of Nebraska System is the largest producer of workforce, research and service in the state. We can’t afford to be stagnant on enrollment.”

“These numbers aren’t shocking to us, but they are disappointing. I’ve told the chancellors that I expect an all-hands-on-deck effort to get us where I know we can be. This is the time to be bold and creative in our thinking. Enrollment is our top priority.”

According to a press release, Carter has outlined steps to help increase enrollment moving forward including the continuation of the Nebraska Promise, which allows qualifying Nebraska students with family incomes of $65,000 or less to attend the university tuition-free; two straight years of tuition freezes; and application fee waivers during the fall.

The university also is focused on expanding transfer opportunities so that students can seamlessly transfer between postsecondary institutions, as well as expanding educational opportunities for working adults, particularly the 300,000-plus Nebraskans who have some college credits but no degree, the release states.

Some areas of enrollment are up, including record numbers in UNL’s College of Engineering. Agriculture, public health, and allied health also saw increases in the number of students attending.

The full breakdown of enrollment is below:

Campus enrollment totals:

· University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 23,805 (2.6 percent decrease)

· University of Nebraska at Omaha: 15,058 (1.7 percent decrease)

· University of Nebraska at Kearney: 6,041 (3.7 percent decrease)

· University of Nebraska Medical Center: 4,406 (0.4 percent increase)

· Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: 250 (2.3 percent decrease)

System-wide enrollment totals:

· University of Nebraska System total headcount: 49,560 (2.2 percent decrease)

· First-time freshmen: 7,847 (0.2 percent decrease)

· Undergraduate students: 36,370 (2 percent decrease)

· Graduate students: 9,498 (3.6 percent decrease)

· Professional students: 3,442 (0.2 percent decrease)

Other enrollment highlights:

· In addition to a 7 percent enrollment increase in the UNL College of Engineering, enrollment in UNL’s Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts is up 6.2 percent, with strong growth from the new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

· Enrollment of first-time freshmen grew in UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, College of Business, College of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. CASNR has its second-largest enrollment of new students (first-time freshmen and transfer students) in history.

· UNL’s enrollment of U.S. undergraduate students from outside Nebraska is up 3.6 percent over last fall.

· The number of first-time freshmen enrolled in UNK’s health sciences programs is up 14 percent.

· Enrollments of international students at UNO and UNMC increased as institutions begin to rebound from pandemic-related declines.