Enrollment data released by UNO shows historic highs in enrollment and retention


Zach Gilbert

UNO is now home to 15,892 students, its highest student body total since 1992, according to a report released on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Photo courtesy of UNO.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the University of Nebraska at Omaha released enrollment data that demonstrated record high levels in student enrollment and retention rate.

In this report, it was revealed that UNO now has its largest student body in almost 30 years, and the year-over-year overall retention rate is the highest in the university’s history.

“The 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 Gold 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.”

Courtesy of UNO’s Office for Institutional Effectiveness, the enrollment report illustrated that UNO’s current student body total is at 15,892 students, which is the highest total since 1992.

This number is supported by an incoming freshman class of 2,220 students, which is the largest freshman class the university has seen in the last decade. In addition, the university welcomed 1,381 new transfer students this fall.

UNO’s retention rate, tracked from the Fall 2019 semester to the Fall 2020 semester, is at 76.9%, which is the highest in UNO’s history.

Other achievements include a graduate enrollment of 3,124 students – also the largest in UNO’s history – and an incoming class of 1,637 first generation students, a 30.8% increase over last year. Additionally, the report noted 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.

The university highlighted several sources that they deemed vital to the expansion of enrollment and recruitment. UNO has worked in partnership with local community colleges for years to assert itself as a preferred transfer college, and it has also increased its investments in online teaching and learning over the past decade, allowing for more student accessibility to coursework.

Furthermore, the university believes that new scholarship programs offered in light of the COVID-19 pandemic likely helped boost enrollment as well, lessening the financial burden of a college education.

“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,” Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Sacha Kopp, Ph.D., 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.”

Dan Ship, the Vice Chancellor for Student Success, offered gratitude for the strength and spirit of incoming students.

“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,” Shipp 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.”