Wayne State’s Enrollment Soars for the Fifth Straight Year

Wayne State reports a fifth straight year of enrollment growth at the College with the arrival of another record freshman class of 801 students.

Enrollment has now grown 24 percent since 2017, which includes 56 percent growth in the College’s graduate programs during the same span of time. As a reflection of the College’s commitment to ensuring its programs provide equal opportunities, 21 percent of Wayne State’s newly enrolled students identify as minorities.

Headcount at the College has increased by 384 students since 2020, for a total enrollment of 4249, with significant gains in degree-seeking students. In addition to the growth in the number of students enrolled at the College, Wayne State has improved its four-year graduation rate by 3.5 percent and maintained a 73 percent retention rate for students moving from their first to second year of study. The average retention rate for open enrollment public four-year institutions like Wayne State is 61 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“While we are proud to report sustained enrollment growth, we are also committed to continually improving the Wayne State experience to not just recruit but to retain our students until the completion of their degrees,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, president of Wayne State. “As the gateway of opportunity for our students … opportunities that prepare our students to follow their passions into teaching, business, technology, industry, the arts, and pathways to professional degrees in law and health care … we take seriously our responsibility to provide a learning environment that encourages and supports all students on their educational journeys.”

Wayne State has continued to add quality academic programs to match the passion of its students and meet the demand of the workforce. New academic pathways this year include a range of concentrations from Film Production and Theory, Sports Media, and Supply Chain Management for undergraduates, to Human Resource Management and Supply Chain Management focus areas for the MBA program and Special Education Supervision.

In keeping with the College’s focus on the workforce, the newly created Supply Chain Management degree program integrates elements of logistics with the broad area of the supply chain in order to prepare students to provide skilled leadership for the industry. With a strong business background and supply chain management degree, students will be prepared to work in multiple industries and improve business processes by developing sustainable solutions to complex problems.

“Another year of enrollment growth is a direct reflection of the quality of our programs, our campus, and our people,” said Wayne State Admissions Director Kevin Halle. “Student success is not just a phrase we use, instead it is a deep commitment from the point of enrollment to graduation in the Willow Bowl.”

In addition to new academic programs, Wayne State opened the newly renovated Benthack Hall this fall. Home to the College’s counseling, education, and family and consumer sciences programs, the new facility will make an immediate impact on the region’s shortage of mental health practitioners with a dynamic learning environment that encourages students’ passionate approach to mental health care with a state-of-the-art counseling training clinic for students to perfect their psychotherapeutic practices with clients.

To enhance the quality of educator preparation at Wayne State, and in honor of its proud tradition as a teachers college, the renovation includes two state-of-the-art education labs to complement the content labs across campus. One lab is devoted to the study and instruction of English/language arts, reading, writing, and literacy development. The other lab is devoted to the instruction and study of the sciences, mathematics, and technology in education.

“This Benthack renovation means so much to me and my future career as I prepare for my own classroom,” said Katie Ryckman, a senior from Bellevue, Neb., majoring in Elementary Education with Early Childhood and K-6 Special Education endorsements. “The lab spaces and resources give me ideas for my future, but also let my professors show me the many ways that those resources can be used for my students. I also enjoy how all of my professors are in one location, which makes it easier and more convenient for me to reach them, especially now as I prepare to student teach.”

Benthack also serves as the home for family and consumer sciences, fashion merchandising, foods and nutrition, and interior design programs. The foods lab houses six student kitchen stations and a teacher/guest demonstration area with audio and video presentation capability. The lab spaces for textiles, apparel, and interior design share a collaboration, technology, and presentation area to cultivate interdisciplinary approaches to these professions.

“Sustained enrollment growth, continued commitment to degree completion, new academic programs, and renovated facilities are a powerful testimony to the collective work of the faculty and staff of Wayne State,’ President Rames said. “It is my pleasure to work with a talented group of professionals who share a dedication to the transformative power of quality, affordable, and accessible education.” 

Schedule a visit, request more information, or apply today at www.wsc.edu. Hear from Wayne State’s students directly at www.explorewaynestatecollege.com.

Wayne State College, a leading, public four-year college in northeast Nebraska, is a proud member of the Nebraska State College System.

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