It is early in the 2018 recruitment cycle, but the Advantage Scholarship for Colorado and Kansas students appears to be working as intended.
Applications and visits have increased, and so has overall interest from students in our western and southern border states. Admitted undergraduate students from Colorado are up 66 percent from last year, and admitted undergraduate numbers from Kansas are steady.
Competition for quality undergraduate college students has never been more competitive than it has been the last four or five years. Although the University of Nebraska at Kearney has worked hard to recruit and retain students from Nebraska and surrounding states, our numbers from Kansas and Colorado in particular have steadily declined.
In fact, we’ve seen a nearly 30 percent decline in Kansas undergraduate students and 50 percent drop in the number of Colorado students at UNK since 2012. In fall 2017, UNK had 69 undergraduate students from Colorado, a decline from 144 five years earlier. It was obviously time for a bold new recruitment plan to reverse the trend.
Because enrollment is vital to a university’s budget, NU President Hank Bounds encouraged us to be bold and look at doing things in an innovative way.
Following a meeting with President Bounds, Chancellor Doug Kristensen and UNK Administrative Council, the Division of Enrollment Management rolled out the new Advantage Scholarship for Kansas and Colorado undergraduate students. It will greatly expand the number of students from these states who will pay only resident tuition beginning with the fall 2018 semester.
The scholarship will also be offered to current UNK undergraduate students from Kansas and Colorado who are in good academic standing and meet the criteria for the scholarship.
With the Advantage Scholarship, qualifying non-resident students from Colorado and Kansas can now save up to ,000 on tuition over four years, matching in-state tuition rates.
The significant cost savings has resulted in renewed energy and increased interest in UNK from students in those states. Our admissions staff is more active in Colorado and Kansas, and they are hearing a lot of positive feedback.
Loper Athletics is seeing benefits, too, as recruits from Colorado and Kansas are lured to UNK by the lower tuition. The football team, for example, landed 15 commitments from Colorado players last week. That compares to just one commitment from that state in 2017.
We are encouraged with the early momentum of the Advantage Scholarship, and we are excited to sell and tell UNK’s story as we grow enrollment and interest among future Lopers.