Dean Cerveny notes admissions successes for fall 2010


Alan Cerveny, associate vice chancellor and dean of Admissions, issued his annual fall note of congratulations and encouragement to faculty and staff following the enrollment data announcement:


This fall's official enrollment stands at 24,610 students. This is a 2.1 percent increase over last year and represents a 15-year high for the university. Given the economic climate and the state's shrinking pool of high school graduates (a steady decline that began in 2002), this is welcome news. As we have seen, increased enrollments permit the Board of Regents to keep student tuition increases low and help blunt the damage of potentially harmful state budget cuts.

Looking ahead to our next recruiting cycle, our new conference affiliation, which begins in 2011, should have a positive impact upon student recruitment. UNL can offer prospective students "a Big Ten education" at an affordable cost. Along with our distinguished faculty, strong student support services, state-of-the-art facilities, modern residence halls, and a contagious school spirit, we can tout the increased educational opportunities this affiliation will provide our students. Our recruiting theme for this year is: "The Big Ten: It all begins with you."

The conventional wisdom is that we were accepted for membership into the Big Ten Conference because of our tradition-rich football program and the university's membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities. There is no question that these were two very important factors. But UNL has been a member of the AAU since 1909 and has had one of college football's premier programs for over 50 years. If these two factors were the only considerations, why wasn't UNL invited in the 1960s when Bob Devaney brought the Cornhusker football program back to national prominence? Or the 1970s when the Huskers won back-to-back national championships? Or the 1980s when Nebraska had the winningest program of the decade? Or the 1990s when Tom Osborne's teams won three national championships in four years?

When the Big Ten chancellors and presidents vetted Nebraska, they certainly took notice of the dramatic upward academic trajectory UNL has experienced over the past decade.

Between 2000 and 2010, the changes in our key academic performance indicators speak for themselves:

- a dramatic increase in the number of individual faculty, students, and staff receiving national recognition and awards;

- historic growth in external research funding, from $49 million to 139 million;

- the increase in PhD enrollment from 1,377 to 1,852;

- a marked increase in graduation rates, from 47 percent to over 63 percent;

- growth in UNL's total enrollment from 22,000 to 24,600;

- the most diverse student body in school history. The percentage of students of color increased from 6.8 percent to 10.2 percent

- the largest percentage of out-of-state students in school history, up from 18.8 percent to 23.7 percent; and

- the enrollment of the university's most academically talented freshman class for nine straight years. The average ACT score has risen from 24.2 to 25.4

Over the next few years, the buzz about Nebraska and the Big Ten will generate increased student interest from across the nation. We need to take advantage of this golden opportunity by proudly sharing with these prospective students and their parents what makes Nebraska so special. I am confident that they will find our story as compelling as the Big Ten's leadership did this past summer.

As we kick off another new student recruiting cycle, I would appreciate your assistance in identifying prospective students who might be interested in UNL. Even though we have thousands of active prospects in our database, I suspect there may be some talented high school or community college students who have somehow escaped our radar. If you have names you would like to share with the Office of Admissions (particularly your children, grandchildren, family friends, or relatives), please email their names, year in school, and mailing addresses to me at

I appreciate your continuing support of the university's student recruitment efforts. All of us in the Office of Admissions look forward to working with you to recruit the university's first Big Ten class of new students for Fall 2011. Thank you again and take care."

- Alan Cerveny, Admissions