University of Nebraska, Omaha, announces fall 2020 enrollment

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

New enrollment data released Sept. 8 by the University of Nebraska at Omaha show historic highs in key success metrics, including the largest student body in nearly 30 years and the highest year-over-year overall retention rate in university history.

"This landmark enrollment report reflects not only our unwavering commitment to prepare Nebraskans for a future of success and fulfillment, but the enduring power of the Maverick Spirit,” Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said. “With top-tier academic and support programming, the thousands of new and returning Mavericks in this university community will be well-equipped to meet the workforce needs of the global communities that we serve. The Completion Imperative academic support program commits to the successful academic journey of all of our students. I am eager to see the great things they will achieve.”

The report compiled by UNO’s Office for Institutional Effectiveness shows that UNO’s 15,892 total students is the highest since 1992, bolstered by an incoming freshman class of 2,220 – the largest in the last decade – and 1,381 new transfer students. In addition, UNO’s retention rate of 76.9% from the Fall 2019 semester to Fall 2020 is the highest in university history.

Additional highlights include:

UNO’s graduate enrollment of 3,124 students is the largest in school history.

Fall 2020’s incoming class includes 1,637 first generation students – a 30.8% increase over last year.

A 15.8% increase in new first-time freshman minority students, an 11.1% increase in undergraduate minority students, and an 18.6% increase in graduate minority students.

Five of six UNO colleges increased undergraduate headcount.

UNO retained more than 80% of all female, Hispanic and Asian students from Fall 2019’s freshman class.

University leaders credit a number of sources for across the board increases in vital areas of enrollment and recruitment, including:

Years of investment in retention-focused services such as the Academic and Career Development Center, the creation of an integrated, one-stop student wellness center, and institution-wide initiatives such as the Completion Imperative.

New innovations and investments in online teaching and learning.

Working in partnership with all local and regional community colleges to become a preferred transfer student destination.

Launching the new Career Currency educational partnership program that has already led to several hundred Union Pacific employees enrolling as Mavericks this Fall semester.

New incentive and scholarship programs that have increased access for hundreds of students in the midst of a pandemic.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Sacha Kopp, Ph.D., thanked members of UNO faculty and staff for their efforts the past year that have contributed to the historic enrollment report.

“Despite the challenges we have been presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences, our faculty and support staff went above and beyond to support our mission and to help students reach their full potential,” Kopp said. “As institutions around the nation attempt to hold the line, we fully intend to grow our way through these challenges and create new opportunities to learn, teach, work, and grow.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Success Dan Shipp, Ed.D., said he was inspired by the students who chose UNO to pursue their academic and professional goals.

"At every step of the recruitment, enrollment, and retention process we have the privilege of getting to know students on a personal level. We get to know their hopes and aspirations,” Vice Chancellor for Student Success Dan Shipp, Ed.D., said. “This generation of Mavericks is resilient, ambitious, courageous, and has an entrepreneurial streak that should inspire great confidence that the futures of Omaha and the State of Nebraska are in good hands.”