Large freshman class drives enrollment to 24,445

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Large freshman class drives enrollment to 24,445

UNL's incoming freshmen at new student orientation in August. This year's class is the third-largest in the university's history.

Fueled by one of the largest freshman classes in its history, UNL’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. It is the third-largest class of first-time freshmen at UNL, behind 1979 with 4,702 and 1981 with 4,590.

“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 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.”

Other highlights from the official 2013 UNL census, which was reported today to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents:

  • UNL’s enrollment of 2,328 minority undergraduate students – 12 percent of the undergraduate total – is a 9.1 percent jump from last year and makes this fall’s student body the most diverse in school history.

  • UNL saw climbs in first-time freshmen from Lincoln (up 23.8 percent from last year), Omaha (4.9 percent) and all other areas of Nebraska (6.4 percent).

  • There was a 32 percent increase in non-resident enrollment of first-time freshmen, from 835 last year to 1,102 this year. Overall, non-resident enrollments increased by 8.8 percent overall; 12.5 percent at the undergraduate level. Non-resident students now account for 27 percent of all students at UNL.

  • In addition to traditional out-of-state markets in South Dakota and western Iowa, the university experienced increases of students from Illinois (28.4 percent), Minnesota (25 percent), and Wisconsin (39.1 percent) in its third year as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The number of students from Colorado also climbed 23.1 percent from last year.

  • Though larger than last year, UNL’s new freshman class maintains a strong academic profile. This year’s average freshman ACT score of 25.3 is the second-highest average in school history, just behind last year’s record of 25.4.

  • Graduate enrollment dipped by 5 students (0.1 percent) and professional enrollment decreased by 30 students (5.5 percent). First-time transfer students also declined slightly, by 35 students (3.4 percent).

  • The average credit-hour load for undergraduates is 13.83, compared with 13.79 last year.

The fall semester registrations are reported annually to the provost of the NU system, based on six-day census figures from each of the four NU campuses’ Institutional Research and Planning Offices.

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