Chancellor Doug Kristensen

Fall enrollment figures at the University of Nebraska at Kearney are “up.”

Fall enrollment figures include a 4.1 percent increase in first-time, full-time freshmen (1,098). The total number of full-time undergraduates is up as well (4,811), with total fall enrollment, undergraduate and graduate, at 6,382.  The increases in first-time, full-time freshmen, and in full-time undergraduates, represent five-year record highs.

“We are pleased with our fall enrollment numbers, especially with the numbers and quality of our incoming freshmen,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “This is the second consecutive year that our freshmen enrollment numbers have shown growth.”

Also for the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report again ranked UNK in Tier 2 in the Midwest Universities Master’s Category, making UNK the highest ranking public institution in that category. UNK earned high marks for its academic reputation, the student/faculty ratio and small class sizes.

“We’re not only attracting more freshmen,” Chancellor Kristensen said, “we’re also attracting high quality freshmen students.” Statistics included in the U.S. News & World Report information noted that 55 percent of UNK freshmen ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class.

Many of the state’s top high school graduates are selected for inclusion in the UNK Honors Program. The average ACT for the 129 freshmen in the UNK Honors Program this fall is 28. Among the 129, there are 77 different majors indicated for the group, with the largest concentration of students, 31, found in the health sciences. The overall ACT for all incoming freshmen stands at 22. 

In a year in which there were fewer high school graduating seniors in the state, the number of students attending UNK from Nebraska high schools increased 4.5 percent. The largest increase in numbers of students comes from Lancaster, Dawson and Keith Counties. There are also increases in the numbers of students drawn to UNK from the Central Nebraska region and along the I-80 corridor from Lincoln west.

“I think that Nebraska’s high school seniors are choosing UNK, because of the quality of our programs, the student/faculty ratio and the small class sizes,” Chancellor Kristensen said. “We are meeting the needs of Nebraskans. At the same time, we are attracting an increasingly diverse group of students.”

The number of minority freshmen is up 10.4 percent. Of those, the number of Hispanic students is up 21.8 percent. The number of international students enrolled this fall is largely unchanged.

“We find that students are drawn to the Kearney community as well as the Kearney campus,” he added. “Our faculty, staff and students make new students feel welcome. Community is supportive of student employees with flexible, part-time employment, often in fields related the students’ majors.”

While students are drawn to courses on the campus, off-campus courses are seeing a growth as well with off-campus graduate enrollment up 6.7 percent, reflecting an increase in online and combined online/distance offerings.

“Our online classes serve placebound Nebraskans as well as make quality UNK offerings available nationwide,” Chancellor Kristensen concluded. Making more courses available online has been a goal of the university system.