Randy Mertens
Director of Media Relations and Internal Communications 308.865.8136 or mertensrj@unk.edu

The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s enrollment rose slightly this fall, reaching a total headcount of 6,478.  That is 10 students more than in fall 2006 and is the highest overall enrollment at UNK in seven years. Once again UNK has enrolled students from every county in Nebraska.  

Although enrollment at the undergraduate level declined from 2006 by 1.8 percent (93 students), graduate level enrollment increased a substantial 8.6 percent (103 students).  

Similarly, Nebraska resident enrollment declined by 71 students (1.3 percent), but this was more than offset by the increase in nonresident students (81 students, or 8.1 percent).  

Among nonresidents, this fall the number of international undergraduate students on campus reached 494, an increase of 13 percent over 2006, and the number of countries represented in UNK’s student body increased to 46 (from 41). International students now comprise 7.6 percent of UNK’s enrollment. Also, enrollment from some states has reached all-time highs, including Colorado, Missouri and Texas.

Enrollment in distance education programs, including e-campus classes that make UNK courses available to students regardless of their location, has continued to increase markedly at both graduate and undergraduate levels. This also reflects a strategic priority to expand accessibility of university programs.    

Enrollment of first-time freshmen declined by 18 students, or 1.8 percent from the prior year. Quality indicators, however, were significantly up: the average freshmen ACT composite score rose half a point to an all-time high of 22.4. And the number of freshmen enrolling in UNK’s Honor’s program rose to 135 from 106 last year.  

“Among our freshmen we continue to make great strides in attracting students from contiguous states and underrepresented populations, which are University of Nebraska-wide priorities,” noted Dusty Newton, UNK’s director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions.  

“For instance, 38 freshmen from Colorado enrolled at UNK this year — an increase of 36 percent and the largest number of freshmen drawn from Colorado since at least 2003,” he said. “Similarly, the number of multicultural students in the freshman class reached 94 this year –compared to 67 in 2003 and 84 last year.”

In UNK’s traditional “homebase” –Buffalo County and contiguous counties — freshman enrollment rose to 412 this year, from 391 last year. There were 35 fewer enrolled students from the Omaha metropolitan area, however.

Chancellor Doug Kristensen characterized the fall enrollment numbers as “encouraging in a tough demographic and competitive environment.”

He called the increase in numbers of nonresident and international students gratifying; something that enriches the campus environment for all students.  

“The numbers,” Chancellor Kristensen said, “indicate that UNK is recognized for the high quality scholarship of our students and faculty, the many wonderful career and graduate/professional school successes of our alumni, and the unparalleled supportive community at UNK and in Kearney that helps students and faculty achieve that success while enjoying a wonderful quality of life.”