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University of Nebraska sets enrollment record

September 7, 2016 GMT

LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska set a 24-year-old enrollment record this fall, counting the most students since Kearney State College joined the university fold more than two decades ago.

NU announced on Wednesday its fall 2016 enrollment reached 52,515 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students across campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney.

This fall’s figure breaks the previous record set in 1992, when the NU system enrolled 52,108 students.

Led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, all four campuses in the NU system saw growth this year, based on a census of students taken on the sixth day of classes.

For the second straight year, UNL announced record-breaking enrollment. This fall, the Lincoln campus saw a 2.5 percent growth in students over last year, bringing its total enrollment to 25,897.

“As Nebraska’s only land-grant, research-intensive institution, our university is an ever-increasing portal to a more successful, more prosperous, more enriched state,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said in a statement. “So an enrollment win for the university is a win for the state of Nebraska and beyond.”

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Driven by the largest freshman class in UNL’s history -- 4,860 first-time freshmen -- UNL is also realizing its fourth straight year of enrollment growth.

Over the last decade, UNL’s enrollment has risen by 12.5 percent.

“It is rewarding to not only experience the university’s steady growth, but to experience its growth in so many ways that are essential to our state, the nation and the world,” said Amber Williams, director of admissions. “We’re looking forward to maintaining this momentum and seeing our contributions to the state of Nebraska continue to grow as well.”

This fall also marks the largest number of minority students on UNL’s campus -- 2,980 students -- which make up more than 14 percent of the student body.

The number of students from Nebraska choosing to enroll at UNL grew 1 percent this year, as did international students and non-Nebraska students, which charted 10.4 percent and 6.7 percent growth, respectively.

Enrollments also grew at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center.

At UNO, where enrollment reached 15,627 students this year, the largest freshman class in the campus’s history is also its most diverse. Nearly one-third of new students are students of color and 45 percent are first-generation.

UNMC’s enrollment grew by 1.9 percent this year to 3,861 students, while UNK’s enrollment was up slightly to 6,788. Growth in first-time freshmen at UNK grew by 7.5 percent this year, however.

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“It’s remarkable really that we saw an increase in our overall head count enrollment given that we graduated UNK’s largest class -- 1,496 students -- in school history during the summer, winter and spring commencements in 2015-16,” said Ed Scantling, UNK’s associate vice chancellor for academic services and enrollment management.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agricultural saw a sharp decrease in its total enrollment this fall after scaling back its dual-enrollment courses available to high school students, recording 342 students on its campus in Curtis.

The ag college’s number of full-time students enrolled in classes on its campus grew 2.5 percent this year, however.

Across the university, undergraduate student growth was up 1.2 percent and graduate student growth was up 1 percent; the number of first-time freshmen on NU’s campuses increased 4.1 percent to 7,937.