Wayne State enrollment gains, Chadron State and Peru State decline

September 9, 2018

Wayne State College in northeast Nebraska showed considerable enrollment gains in the new school year, according to a report from the Nebraska State College System.Chadron State in northwest Nebraska and Peru State in southeast Nebraska reported declines.The state college system as a whole — counting the three state colleges together — reported generally flat enrollment.Wayne State gained 316 students over last fall, a 9.9 percent increase to 3,498 students.Chadron State had a 276-student drop, or 10.1 percent, to 2,461. Peru State College declined by 63 students, or 3.4 percent, to 1,807.Together, the three colleges dropped by 23 students, and their full-time equivalent (adding part-time students’ credit hours to convert to full time) was identical to last year’s.Stan Carpenter, chancellor of the three-college system, said he generally felt good about the numbers.“We’re basically stable,” he said. “The general health of the state colleges is sound, stable.”Carpenter is retiring after about 18 years leading the state-college system. Each state college has a president.Carpenter said he expects the finalists to replace him will be named in the fall.“Obviously enrollment is a critical issue for us at all times,” he said last week. He said the colleges are competing with other institutions across the state and region for a share of a fairly flat number of high school graduates. “It is competitive.”Overall enrollment in the multi-institution University of Nebraska system dropped 1 percent this school year.Carpenter said the state colleges will continue marketing their strengths, which include access, affordability and assistance for first-generation students.The colleges have open enrollment, which means they generally accept any student with a high-school diploma.“So that’s something we take great pride in,” he said. “We take great pride in who we are.”

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