By Kristin Zagurski
UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology experienced its first enrollment drop in five years according to information released this week by the Office of Institutional Research.
Enrollment for the college is down 8.1 percent from last year’s 880 students to 809 this year. Graduate enrollment remained unchanged.
David Hinton, dean of the college, said the decline was “not overly surprising.”
A downturn in the technology job market and increased requirements in math are two of the reasons Hinton thinks enrollment numbers are down.
The third, and what Hinton believes is the most important factor in the decline, is the lack of housing available on UNO’s campus.
“I know we lost a number of highly qualified students from areas outside Omaha because we ran out of space,” he said.
Because of the lack of housing, the college had to decrease the number of scholarships it offered this year.
Hinton expects a turnaround in undergraduate enrollment for the college upon the completion of UNO’s new residence hall, Scott Village, which is set to open in fall 2003.
The College of Continuing Studies also experienced a drop in enrollment for fall 2002. Last year’s 1,225 fell 4.3 percent to 1,172 this year.
” The reputation of the college has grown tremendously over the years and that’s beginning to pay some dividends.”
John E. Christensen,
dean of the College of Education
Despite declines in some colleges, head count enrollment is up 2.1 percent from last year. This year’s head count enrollment is 15,423.
The college seeing the greatest jump in enrollment this year is the College of Education. Undergraduate enrollment for the college is 1,377, up 11 percent from last year. Graduate enrollment is 944, up 7.5 percent from last year.
John E. Christensen, dean of the College of Education, said there are four factors he believes contributed to the enrollment rise.
First, he said when the economy is depressed, people come back to school. Many of those people choose to study education because of the many jobs and opportunities available in the field.
Second, he said the college has been working hard to recruit quality students.
Third, he said there has been a real shift in how students think about their future. He said many students choose UNO because of the fact that it is situated in a metropolitan area and that is where the action is.
Finally, Christensen said, “The reputation of the college has grown tremendously over the years and that’s beginning to pay some dividends.”
Other colleges experiencing increases in enrollment are: the College of Fine Arts, up 8.1 percent from last year with a current student population of 547; the College of Arts and Sciences, up 5.5 percent to reach an enrollment of 3,383; and the College of Business Administration, with an enrollment of 2,044 – up 3.2 percent from last fall.
These numbers are current as of Sept. 3. Claude Thompson, a staff assistant in the Office of Institutional research, said the information is gathered from student enrollment files.
According to the Enrollment Statistical Summary, the Office of Institutional Research has produced a report for each semester since 1995.
The report’s purpose is to provide the university community with enrollments broken down by level, class, gender and ethnicity.