In tough economy, UNL continues to improve, grow

Sep 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus News, Issue, September 10, 2009

Highest enrollment in 14 years

With 24,100 students enrolled in the fall semester 2009, UNL recorded its highest enrollment since 1995. The enrollment, reported Sept. 4, represents a 2.2 percent increase over fall 2008.

Of the 527 students who comprise the increase, 429 are undergraduate students, 91 are graduate students and seven are in professional colleges. Transfer headcount increased by 51, a 5.3 percent increase. The total number of first-time freshmen declined by 214, a 5.1 percent decrease. This is the first drop in new students for the fall that UNL has experienced since 2004.

Alan Cerveny, UNL’s dean of Admissions, said he was pleased with the overall numbers and noted that this year’s entering freshman class is significantly larger than the class that graduated in May, meaning UNL’s enrollment is still trending in a positive direction.

For the eighth straight year, the freshman class profile increased. This freshman class ACT composite average is 25.4, a significant improvement over last year’s record high of 25.03.

Other highlights from the official 2009 UNL census reported Sept. 4 to the Board of Regents:

With 1,787 minority students, UNL has enrolled the largest percent of minority undergraduates, 9.4 percent, in its history.

Nonresident enrollment increased by 3.3 percent/ Nonresident students now account for 23.7 percent of all students at UNL.

Most academic colleges experienced enrollment growth, led by the College of Arts and Sciences (up 551 students, 13 percent); the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (up 116 students, 7.1 percent); and the College of Education and Human Sciences (up 173 students, 6.3 percent).

Research dollars clear record $122 million

Total research funding at UNL increased nearly 13 percent in 2009 to a record of more than $122 million, according to the Office of Research.

Total research funding, which includes all external funds awarded for university research, was $122,452,344 in the fiscal year ending June 30. The increase, up from $108.3 million in fiscal 2008, is UNL’s largest ever year-to-year research funding increase.

Ready for a rainy day

Plans for weathering the international economic downturn began last fall at UNL. A focus on utility savings and providing a review over new hires helped put the university in a good position, said Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

In June, Perlman proposed cuts to meet a $3.7 million shortfall in the 2009-10 biennial budget. The plan included the loss of 56.1 full-time equivalent positions, half of which were already vacant.

While the layoffs were difficult, Perlman said they are part of a budget-cutting plan that helps UNL protect its priorities of undergraduate education and research.

Perlman called this an “uncertain period,” and challenged the UNL community to continue to prepare for leaner budget times and to continue to focus on the university’s strengths.

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