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University of Nebraska Records Most Diverse Student Body in History

(KFOR NEWS  September 9, 2021)   In a signal that the University of Nebraska is continuing to provide access to people of the state, the NU system’s student body in fall 2021 is its most diverse in history, with more than 1 in 5 students identifying as minority, according to new enrollment figures announced today by President Ted Carter.

System-wide enrollments of first-time freshmen, graduate and professional students all increased, and campuses experienced growth in key areas for Nebraska’s workforce, including engineering, public health, allied health professions, business, architecture, and information science and technology.

Total enrollment across the university system’s four campuses plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture this fall is 50,653, a 2 percent decline from fall 2020. Declines among international students contributed in part to the overall dip as the university continues to manage the challenges of a COVID-19 world.

“Growth is always our goal, but I am pleased that the University of Nebraska is continuing to achieve our fundamental mission of providing affordable, accessible, outstanding education to students and families,” Carter said. “To be welcoming our most diverse student body in our history is truly an achievement to celebrate.

“Our faculty, staff and students have navigated the past 18 months with remarkable strength. We have big plans for the year ahead, with a focus on student access and success, workforce development and research to meet the needs of our state and the world. Our message, as always, is that the University of Nebraska offers the most powerful combination of excellence and value that students can find.”

Minority headcount enrollment this year is 10,734, representing 21 percent of the student body. A decade ago, 12 percent of NU’s students were minorities. Ensuring access for all students will remain among the university’s highest priorities, particularly in view of changing state and national demographics, Carter noted.

The 2021-22 academic year kicks off a two-year, across-the-board tuition freeze at the NU system, and the university is continuing its Nebraska Promise financial aid program, guaranteeing full tuition coverage for Nebraska students whose families earn $60,000 or less.

Other enrollment highlights include:

  • Enrollment of first-time freshmen, a key metric for the university, is up, including a notable 15 percent increase at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
  • UNK’s overall enrollment increased and nonresident enrollment grew significantly, indicating promising results from the campus’ New Nebraskan scholarship program that took effect this year. Non-resident, first-time freshmen increased 70 percent at UNK. International enrollment grew more than 5 percent. First-time freshmen from Nebraska increased 8.9 percent.
  • Enrollment of Hispanic first-time freshmen at UNK grew 29 percent over last year, to a record high.
  • The University of Nebraska Medical Center has its 21st straight record-high enrollment, with a 3.5 percent increase over last year, positioning UNMC to continue to meet the state’s urgent healthcare workforce needs.
  • At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, enrollment of first-time freshmen who are the first in their families to go to college increased nearly 5 percent. One-fourth of UNL’s first-time, first-year students this year are first-generation. UNL also drew more first-year students from Nebraska.
  • Undergraduate enrollment in UNL’s College of Engineering is up 4.5 percent, a key achievement as UNL grows its engineering programs to attract more talent to the state and contribute to a highly skilled workforce. Students seeking degrees in architecture and law from UNL also increased this year.
  • Graduate enrollment at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is up, driven by growth within the colleges of business and information science and technology, both critical to Nebraska’s workforce. Enrollment in the College of Information Science & Technology increased 5.4 percent. UNO also is expanding opportunities for working professionals to pursue UNO coursework and advance their careers through a new “Career Currency” partnership with leading Omaha-area companies.
  • Enrollment of graduate-level minority students at UNO is up over last year.
  • NCTA experienced strong enrollment growth, driven by rising interest in its animal science and equine industry management programs as well as the campus’ success in providing experiential learning and on-campus work experience to students.

Details on the University of Nebraska’s fall 2021 enrollment follow. Figures are based on a student census taken on the sixth day of classes.

Campus enrollment totals:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: 24,431 (2.7 percent decrease)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: 15,328 (3.5 percent decrease)
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: 6,275 (0.8 percent increase)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: 4,387 (3.5 percent increase)
  • Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture: 232 (6.4 percent increase)

University-wide enrollment totals:

  • University of Nebraska system total: 50,653 (2 percent decrease)
  • First-time freshmen: 7,860 (0.7 percent increase)
  • Undergraduate students: 37,345 (3.3 percent decrease)
  • Graduate students: 9,858 (1.1 percent increase)
  • Professional students: 3,450 (4.2 percent increase)
  • Minority students: 10,734 (2.1 percent increase)
  • International students: 3,173 (7.2 percent decrease)

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