UNMC enrollment at 4,247 sets record for 20th straight year

Nebraska City News-Press

For the 20th straight year, student enrollment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center set a record high with 4,247 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year. This represents an increase of 192 students, or 4.7 percent over last year's record of 4,055. The increase of 192 students is the biggest increase at UNMC since it added 249 students in 2010. 

"Our enrollment numbers reflect the hard work and perseverance that our deans and student recruitment offices have shown over the past year. I could not be more proud and grateful," Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, said. "This increase also is indicative of our growing reputation as a leading academic health science center. In short, students want to learn - both in-person and remotely - from the quality faculty members here at UNMC."

Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean for graduate studies, said the enrollment this year is "truly remarkable."

"It’s gratifying to see, as we appreciate and have been eyewitnesses to the major challenges many families have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. Davies said."A substantial component -- 42 percent of the increase in enrollment -- was due to an uptick in students pursuing online programs, led by strong interest in the College of Public Health with a very high demand for the online master of public health degree."

Dr. Davies attributed the enrollment increase to several factors, including:

the strong reputation and leadership role UNMC has played locally, regionally and nationally in helping manage the pandemic;

continued efforts to address the ongoing and emerging health care professions needs within the state;

a boost from Nebraska Promise, a University of Nebraska program that provides tuition waivers to some students in undergraduate programs such as nursing and allied health professions programs;

and new opportunities for some students to pursue their dream of a career in health sciences education created by more time at home associated with the pandemic.

There was a 16 percent decrease in international students due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Below are enrollment highlights. Please note that some students are enrolled in dual programs.

College of Dentistry

The College of Dentistry admitted 53 new dental students and 24 new dental hygiene students. The total student enrollment is 299, including 41 post-graduate students. Of the incoming students, 40 are from rural areas and 37 are from cities. For dental hygiene, it’s 12 rural and 12 urban students. There were 527 applications for the 53 slots in this year’s dental class.

College of Medicine

There are 131 new students entering their first year of medical school, bringing the total enrollment to 514, which includes 32 students in the M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program. The new students in the college, about 89 percent of whom are Nebraska residents, were selected from a total of 1,655 applicants. There are 616 resident physicians training at UNMC.

College of Nursing

The College of Nursing enrolled 1,129 students across UNMC’s five campuses in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk. This represents a 3.9 percent growth over the past year.

College of Pharmacy

The college admitted 59 new students with an average GPA of 3.59. Of these new students, 83 percent are Nebraska residents with 59 percent coming from rural areas. The new students bring the total enrollment in the four-year program to 237 students.

College of Public Health

Enrollment for the College of Public Health’s professional programs tops 272, an increase of 51 percent over last year’s 180 students. This year’s students include 236 master’s degree students and 36 certificate/non-degree students. Of the 169 incoming students, 39 percent are residents of Nebraska. non-resident students are represented by 34 different states.

College of Allied Health Professions

A total of 686 students are enrolled in the college, including online students. Campus-based enrollment increased by 8 percent over 2019-20, and about 20 percent over the past three years. The college has students in 14 different programs.

Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies enrollment is 494 students which represents a 1 percent decrease over last fall. Graduate Studies offers advanced instruction leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in fields ranging from the basic biomedical sciences to public health to patient-oriented research. Among all UNMC graduate students, 74 percent are enrolled in Ph.D. programs.

Munroe-Meyer Institute

Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) is providing interdisciplinary training, course work and practicum experiences in research and patient care to 340 students enrolled in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs from universities in Nebraska and across the country, including UNMC. There are 240 new trainees this year. This includes 24 master's level students, 24 doctoral level students, 24 interns and 18 post-doctoral fellows. (Since most students participating in these programs are enrolled at other University of Nebraska institutions and are not UNMC students, they are not counted in UNMC enrollment numbers.)