Large freshman class increases 2021-22 enrollment


Courtni Heckert / Antelope Staff The total enrollment for this year was 6,275 students.


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The 2021 fall semester has shown UNK its first increase in enrollment in years. Multiple factors have bumped up the student population by 0.8%. 

“I think the most significant contributor is to have those first-time freshmen,” said Jodi Holt, UNK admissions director.

This semester’s freshmen number 125 more than last year, which makes for a large portion of the increase. Other reasons for the increase include the influx of students returning to school post-COVID, the Nebraska Promise financial aid program, an increase in international students and UNK’s work in retention, especially among Hispanic students.

The College of Business and Technology saw the largest increases of 67%. UNK is also celebrating its highest ever enrollment from Lancaster County. 

The other Nebraska universities saw decreases this semester with UNL down 2.7% and UNO lacking 3.5%.

“I think the work that was done to be in person and to welcome visitors to our campus and to stay as open as we possibly could made a big difference,” Holt said. “And I think that is a differentiator, in my opinion, between UNO and UNL and us.” 

According to UNK Communications, UNK also kept its ranking on the “Best Colleges” list, which was released by the U.S. News and World Report. Over 1,400 colleges are evaluated for these ranking. The university stayed in No. 6 on the list of the top public unversities in the Midwest. The university is ranked the highest among other MIAA instititions.

UNK also jumped nine places in the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category and is now ranked 15th. 

Going forward, the Office of Admissions has goals to sustain the student population and enrollment rates through support of diversity and continuance of the reasons students decided to attend UNK. They want prospective students to have a chance to come on campus for a tour, and there is a plan for more recruitment opportunities through a new student organization called Louie’s Legion.

“Students want to feel like they belong, and I think that’s one of the things that we’ve been trying to prep our retention partners on,” Holt said.