Chapter 4: Criterion Two
The institution has effectively organized the human,
physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.
The role and mission to provide premier undergraduate education in a residential setting is met through a variety of features unique to UNK.
- The location and accessibility of UNK are attractive to many residents of Central Nebraska.
- Tuition, room, board, and fees remain the lowest within the NU system.
- UNK's low faculty-to-student ratio is equivalent to that found at many private institutions of higher education.
This section discusses the human resources of students, faculty, and staff who allow UNK to accomplish its purpose.
Headcount Enrollment Patterns. UNK's headcount enrollment in the fall of 2003 was 6,379 students. The following paragraphs review the highlights in enrollment patterns. Additional detail is available in the UNK Factbook (http://aaunk.unk.edu/factbook/) and in Figure 4.1, Appendix D.
- Overall Enrollment. Enrollments declined during the last decade. Overall headcount enrollment has declined from 8,374 in the fall of 1992 to 6,379 in the fall of 2003, a decline of 23.8%. (See Table 4.1)
- On-Campus versus Off-Campus Enrollment. Currently, 93.5% of our headcount enrollment is from on campus students. Since the fall of 1992, on campus enrollment has decreased from 7,463 to 5,966, a decline of 20.1%. Off-campus enrollment decreased from 911 in the fall of 1992 to 413 in the fall of 2003, a decline of 54.7%.
- Undergraduate versus Graduate Enrollment. Undergraduate students represent 84.2% of our fall 2003 headcount enrollment, and 73.3% of total unduplicated headcount for fiscal year 2002-2003... Undergraduate enrollment went from 7,141 in the fall of 1992 to 5,373 in 2003, a decrease of 24.8%. This compares to a decline of 18.4% in fall semester graduate enrollment. The sharpest decrease was in undergraduate off-campus enrollment, which dropped by 89.0%, from 370 students in 1992 to 53 students in 2003.
- Enrollment by Enrollment Status. There has been little change in the distribution of students by enrollment status over the past decade. For the fall of 2003, headcount enrollments by enrollment status were as follows: 1,123 first-time freshmen (17.6%), 350 transfer students (5.5%), 4,546 continuing undergraduate and graduate students (71.3%), 61 re-enrollments (1.0%), 293 first-time graduate students (4.6%), and 6 other students (0.1%).
|Headcount Enrollment by Undergraduate/Graduate Status and On/Off Campus 1992-2003|
Student Credit Hour Production. UNK's production of student credit hours has not declined as rapidly as its headcount enrollment. UNK produced 168,133 credit hours in FY 2003, which was a 20.2% reduction from the FY 1993 level of 210,762 credit hours. (See Figure 4.2, Appendix D).
Degree Production. There has been some variation in the number of degrees awarded annually over the past decade. In FY 2001 for instance, UNK produced 1,218 degrees, which was only slightly down from 1,250 in FY 1993. In FY 2002, however, degree production fell to 1,155. In FY 2003, degree production jumped to 1,298 degrees, exceeding the FY 1993 level. (Appendix D, Figure 4.3)
Demographic Characteristics. A decline in non-traditional students is the most noticeable trend in demographic characteristics of the UNK student body in the past decade. In term of gender and ethnicity of U.S residents, UNK experienced only slight variations during this period. Figures 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6 in Appendix D provide detail on age, gender, and ethnicity of UNK students. The highlights are as follows:
- Age. There has been a considerable decline in the number of undergraduate students who are 25 and older. In the fall of 1992, 1,394 undergraduate students were at least 25 years old, which accounted for 19.5 % of the total undergraduate headcount. In the fall of 2003, there were only 618 students at least 25 years old, which accounted for 11.5 % of the total undergraduate headcount.
- Gender. The distribution between male and female students at UNK has been very consistent over the past decade. In the fall of 2003, 55.2 % of the undergraduates and 69.4 % of graduate students were women. This compares to 54.8 % of undergraduate and 65.0 % of graduate students in the fall of 1992.
- Ethnicity of U.S. Residents. With little variation since 1992, UNK's U.S. resident student population is predominantly white. In the fall of 2003, white students represented 95.5 % of undergraduate students and 97.0 % of graduate students. White students have represented 95.5 to 97.1 % of the undergraduate population during that period (excluding those who did not respond to the question of ethnicity). Among graduate students, white students represented 97.0 to 98.7 %. Hispanic students represent the largest ethnic minority group at 2.8 % of the undergraduate and 2.3 % of the graduate student population in the fall of 2002.
Geographic Origins. While the majority of UNK's students are from Nebraska, the representation of students from other states and international students has increased over the last decade. In the fall of 2003, 88.6 % of our students were from Nebraska, compared to 95.4 % in the fall of 1992.
- International Students. In the fall of 2003, international students accounted for 5.0 % of UNK's headcount enrollment, compared to 2.2 % in the fall of 1992. In the fall of 2003, UNK drew students from 49 foreign countries. The largest contributor nations were Japan (183 students), Brazil (26 students), Nepal (20 students), Colombia (16 students), the Bahamas (10 students), and India (8 students). See Figure 4.7, Appendix D, for more detail.
Much of the growth in international students is attributable to UNK's agreement with the National Collegiate Network (NCN). NCN is a Japanese-based institution that places Japanese students in select American universities under the supervision of Japanese-speaking counselors, employed by NCN. The students begin their study at UNK by enrolling in UNK's English Language Institute (ELI) during the summer. At the end of the summer, those students who have attained English proficiency gain admission to regular classes at UNK. The remainder will continue taking courses in the ELI for an additional semester.
- Non-Nebraskan U.S. Residents. Headcount enrollment of U.S. residents from states other than Nebraska has grown from 2.4 % in the fall 1992 to 6.4 % in the fall of 2003. Although UNK draws students from 36 other states, most of the non-Nebraska U.S. domestic students are from states that border Nebraska. The largest contributor states in the fall of 2003 were Colorado (116 students), Kansas (101 students), South Dakota (23 students), and Wyoming (21 students). (See Figure 4.8 in Appendix D.)
Quality of Incoming Students. Although UNK has experienced enrollment decline in the past decade, the quality of our students has increased. The following paragraphs review the highlights of this increase.
- ACT scores. The average composite ACT score of first-time freshmen has increased from 21.0 in the fall of 1992 to 21.8 in the fall of 2002. During this period, the percent of incoming freshmen with scores of 21 or less decreased from 61.4 % to 49.0 % of the total. Freshmen with scores of 22 to 26 jumped from 30.4 % to 37.4 % and freshmen with scores of 27 to 36 increased from 10.3 % to 13.6 %.
- High School Rank. The percentage of incoming freshmen who ranked in the top quarter of their high school classes increased from 45.7 % in 1992 to 53.0 % in 2002 (See Figure 4.9, Appendix D). During this period, the percentage of incoming freshmen who ranked in bottom half of their high school classes decreased from 20.7 % to 13.8 %.
- Completion of High School Core Curriculum. The percentage of incoming freshmen who completed the high school core curriculum increased from 49.5 % in the fall of 1992 to 70.4 % in the fall of 2002, despite an increase in the number of hours required in the core curriculum during this time-period. Since the fall of 1997, the High School Core Curriculum has been 16 units, with a unit equal to a one-year high school class. It consists of 4.0 units of English, 3.0 units of mathematics, 3.0 units of social sciences, 3.0 units of natural sciences, 2.0 units of a foreign language, and 1.0 additional unit in any of these subjects. See Figure 4.10 in Appendix D for details.
Persistence Rates. The University defines persistence rates as the percentage of undergraduate students who have returned, re-entered, or graduated after a specified number of years. Figure 4.11, Appendix D, shows UNK's persistence rates in detail. As the table indicates, UNK's persistence rates have increased over the past decade. For instance, 71.4 % of the 1992 cohort returned after the first year, while 81.2 % of the 2002 cohort returned after the first year.
Graduation Rates. Graduation rates, defined as the percentage of undergraduate students who have received a baccalaureate degree after a specified number of years, have been increasing at UNK (See Figure 4.12, Appendix D). A common measure for public institutions is the 5-year graduation rate. The 1998-99 cohort is most recent cohort for which we have a 5-year graduation rate. At the time of the last self-study, the 1988-89 cohort represented the last cohort for which we had a 5-year graduation rate. Comparing these two cohorts, the 5-year graduation rate has increased from 36.0% to 46.2%.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio. The table below (4.2) shows the student FTE per instructional faculty FTE from Academic Year (AY) 1992-93 to AY 2002-03, using the Coordinating Commission's definitions of student and instructional faculty FTE. For student FTE, the Commission's methodology divides total student credit hours in an academic year by separate values at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Thirty credit hours at the undergraduate-level equals one student FTE, while 24 hours at the graduate level equals one student FTE. The methodology treats full-time faculty as one instructional FTE, unless they serve as chairs or have administrative duties outside of the department. Chairs are equal to 0.6 instructional FTE, while faculty with additional administrative duties have instructional FTE values based on the percent of their time away from instructional duties. For instance, the Assistant Deans, the Director of the Honors Program, General Studies Director, and the Faculty Assistant for the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs are 0.5 instructional FTE each. The methodology does not make an adjustment for faculty with reassigned-time for research. For part-time faculty, the methodology determines the FTE value by dividing workload hours by 30. For instance, if an individual teaches one 3.0-hour course during an academic year, her FTE value would equal 0.1 FTE.
|Student FTE Per Faculty Instructional FTE, 1992-2002|
|FY|| Business &
|Education|| Fine Arts &
& Social Science
As the table above shows, UNK's decline in student FTE per faculty FTE is similar to the overall decline in enrollment. The greatest decline occurred in the College of Natural and Social Sciences, while the smallest decline was in Business and Technology.
- The quality of incoming students to UNK has increased during the last decade. The ACT scores, class rank, and percentage of students who completed the High School core curriculum are higher now than a decade ago.
- Graduation and retention rates have improved substantially in the last decade.
- UNK's enrollment decline over the past decade remains a major concern to faculty, staff, and administration. Recruitment has been made a major priority and we have enacted an enrollment management plan to address this issue.
- The issue of diversity is still a concern. UNK has increased diversity from an international standpoint, with more international students now than a decade ago. Unfortunately, the number of U.S. residents with ethnic minority status at UNK remains low. UNK addressed this issue by adding an Admissions Counselor dedicated to Hispanic populations and a coordinator of multicultural recruitment.