Enrollment in the University of Nebraska system has topped 50,700.
Nebraska University President J. B. Milliken says he’s most pleased with a seven percent rise in the number of first-time freshmen.
“Nebraska needs to increase the number of people who have education beyond high school to be competitive in a global economy,” Milliken tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So, any time we grow that number and we are educating more Nebraskans, it’s a good story, I think.”
Total enrollment on the four Nebraska University campuses, plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, came in at 50,705, a 1% increase over last year. Undergraduate enrollment grew, led by that 7% rise in first-time freshmen.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha led all campuses in growth, a three percent increase that brought total enrollment this fall to 15,227. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln grew by a percent to 24,445. Enrollment at the University of Nebraska at Kearney dropped 2% to settle at 7,052 and enrollment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center rose 0.7% to 3,681.
There are more than 38,000 undergraduate students and nearly 9,500 graduate students in the system.
The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis had 300 students on its Curtis campus this fall, less than the 331 it had on campus last year.
Milliken says it is natural for the two largest campuses to lead the way.
“UNL and UNO both have very bullish enrollment-growth plans over this decade and that is, I think, where we will continue to see the most enrollment growth and the most new freshmen coming in.”
Milliken isn’t worried that enrollment on the Kearney campus dropped by two percent.
“I think Kearney’s got some great stories to tell, about the increase in diversity there about enrollment from all 50 states and they continue to be the most international of our campuses.”
Milliken says affordability and a diverse offering are the keys to continued growth.
“If we can continue to do these things: make sure it’s affordable, make sure we have enough financial aid available, and learn from the successes this year, I think we’ll continue to do well.”