Wayne State College

WSC Welcomes Second Largest Freshman Class in College’s History

Published Friday, September 4th, 2020

Students walking to class
Fall 2020 classes began Aug. 17.

Total enrollment is at 3,865 students, a 4.77% increase from Fall 2019. WSC's total enrollment has grown 20% in the past three years.

Wayne State College proudly announces the second largest class in its history with 821 new freshmen on campus for the 2020-21 academic year. The 11.7% increase is just five students short of the largest ever class that entered in 1968 during the height of the Vietnam War.

The freshman class growth, combined with a 2.41% increase in graduate students and a 5.94% increase in returning undergraduate students, puts the college at 3,865 total students, which is 4.77% more than Fall 2019. Wayne State’s total enrollment has grown 20% in the past three years.

“We are delighted to sustain such positive growth at the College,” said WSC President Marysz Rames. “The challenges we all face with the pandemic and its effects on so many aspects of our lives made our work that much harder. But the flexibility and creativity of our employees helped maintain the face-to-face experience that so many of our students indicated was a priority for them. We are hopeful that our community’s commitment to public health will see us through to a safe and successful fall semester.”

Opportunities for Wayne State students come in the form of expanded academic offerings, new initiatives and partnerships, access to the most affordable four-year and graduate degrees in our region, generous scholarship packages, and new and renovated facilities. Each of these areas played a critical role in positioning the college for sustained growth.

“To welcome another record freshmen class to Wayne State is a direct reflection of who we are as an institution,” said WSC Admissions Director Kevin Halle. “That is, we are accessible, affordable, and committed to providing opportunities.”

The College has continued to add to its quality academic programs to meet the demand of the Nebraska economy and workforce. Additional academic pathways include agriculture, engineering technology, fermentation science, mechanical and agricultural engineering, manufacturing management, applied science, and accelerated nursing.

“Wayne State is a bold first choice for students from all walks of life,” Rames said. “We provide a quality, personalized education from distinguished faculty and staff who care about you and want you to be successful. Our continued growth is a clear testament to our living and learning environment, which values hands-on, experiential learning.”

One of the chief new initiatives at Wayne State is a partnership with the Aksarben Foundation’s Northeast Nebraska Growing Together program launched last spring. The first cohort of 26 students received scholarships provided by the Aksarben Foundation and began their education at WSC as freshmen this fall for a three-year on-campus education to be followed by a fourth year of living in Norfolk while working for a local business. This year, WSC students will be pursuing degree programs across business, communications, and computer science. 

The College announced in August that the Nebraska Legislature approved the Career Scholarship Program to provide funding for student support aimed at growing the state’s workforce in high demand fields. The newly created scholarships will provide a total of $1.6 million to be awarded to Wayne State students over four years who are pursuing careers in critical workforce areas. The funding will help support WSC’s Cooperative Education program as part of the Growing Together initiative. 

In addition to providing consistent and generous assistance to students through a robust scholarship process, the College lowered the online rate to $359 per credit hour for graduate-level courses for PK-12 educators. Graduate-level courses that lead to a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and master's degree in special education are included in the new rate, which makes these degrees among the most affordable in the state for teachers.

The past five years at Wayne State have been marked by several new and renovated facilities, which included the construction of the Center for Applied Technology, Northeast Nebraska’s premier industrial technology, manufacturing, and computer science facility. The College has also added a Criminal Justice Laboratory, completely renovated its high-rise residence hall, and made dramatic improvements to athletic facilities and the Kanter Student Center.

“Although presented with some challenges late spring and summer, our staff and the campus continued to serve prospective students through creative online opportunities,” Halle said. “We were available then and we are available now as we enter a new recruitment cycle.”