Wayne State College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Wayne State College
"Wayne State College provides an outstanding college experience through strong teaching, valuable support, and...

Wayne State College

Wayne, Nebraska

Wayne State College, long recognized for providing educational excellence in a small, friendly setting, has been the educational and cultural anchor of northeast Nebraska for more than 100 years.


What began as an institution devoted to teacher education has transformed into the region’s most affordable leading comprehensive college, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees. More than 3,600 students and 120 faculty members call Wayne State home.


Wayne State College offers more than 90 undergraduate degrees and four graduate programs. True to its beginning roots as a teachers college, education continues to be one of the most popular majors on campus. Other popular majors include business, criminal justice and pre-professional programs, which prepares students for medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy school.


Sitting on a beautiful campus covering 128 acres, Wayne State is anchored by the Willow Bowl, named for the majestic willow trees lining the space.


Several artistic performances and visual arts exhibits are hosted on campus each year, all of which are open to the public. The college is also home to the Nordstrand Visual Arts Gallery and northeast Nebraska’s only planetarium, the Fred G. Dale Planetarium.


Wayne State is home to 15 exciting NCAA Division II athletic teams and participates in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
2,969 undergraduate students
91% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
13% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
127 full-time faculty
93 part-time faculty
18 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

46 percent of students live in one of the seven residential halls on campus.

School Location

Wayne, NE

Retention Fall 2014

68% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

49% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 3%
White 80%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 6%


NCAA Division II. 15 Varsity sports programs: Men’s sports sponsored include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. The women compete in basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, softball, volleyball and soccer. WSC is a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in all sports. Mascot: Wildcats Colors: Black and Yellow

Other Information

Wayne State College, founded in 1891, is a comprehensive institution of higher education dedicated to freedom of inquiry, excellence in teaching and learning, and regional service and development. Offering affordable undergraduate and graduate programs, the college prepares students for careers, advanced study, and civic involvement. The college is committed to faculty-staff-student interaction, public service, and diversity within a friendly and collegial campus community.

Wayne State College graduates go on to become leaders in their field. In fact, nine out of every 10 graduates are working in their field of study, in such exciting fields as medicine, journalism and teaching. Why are Wayne State graduates so employable? It’s simple: the college’s approach to education.

Education and Innovation

With innovative programs such as NENTA (Northeast Nebraska Teacher Academy) and RHOP (Rural Health Opportunities Program), Wayne State students gain real-world experience and knowledge that prepares them for success in and out of the classroom.

NENTA places highly qualified Wayne State College teaching majors as substitute teachers in participating school districts. Wayne State College students gain real-world teaching experience while the 14 participating school districts gain insight from students who are learning the latest in curriculum and instruction. This kind of real-world experience makes Wayne State College teaching majors some of the most sought after and employable students after graduation.

Students wishing to explore a career in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, dental hygiene or clinical laboratory science are prepared for post-graduate study thanks to the RHOP program. Students accepted into the program receive a tuition waiver for their undergraduate study at Wayne State College, and are automatically accepted into programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Upon completion of their study at UNMC, these students go on to become health providers in rural areas throughout Nebraska.

Dedicated Faculty

At Wayne State, the focus is not just teaching, but learning. Top-notch faculty (not graduate assistants) focus on student engagement in the college’s classrooms. With a small student-to-faculty ratio (19:1), Wayne State keeps classrooms small so that students are involved in class discussion. The end result? Students who are academically challenged, are gaining a real-world education, and who feel like their professors care about their academic success.

Service Learning

Hands-on learning occurs outside of the classroom for many Wayne State courses. The college’s Service-Learning program promotes, mobilizes, and supports the efforts of Wayne State, united in strengthening academic and co-curricular programs through service-learning in the college’s communities, state and nation. Service-learning also plays an important role in engaging and retaining Wayne State students.

Student Life

There are nearly 100 student clubs and organizations on campus, which not only means there is always something going on, but there is always something to get involved in.

Wayne State College clubs and organizations encompass a wide variety of interests. Art, politics, athletics, business and multicultural affairs are just a few of the interests that can be explored. These clubs and organizations often sponsor on-campus events like bringing a nationally renowned speaker to campus, or hosting off-campus adventures that allow students to apply classroom knowledge in the field.

Wayne State’s clubs and organizations, intramural sports, student activities board, and NCAA athletics bring more than 400 student-centered activities to campus each year. Most of them are free. And that amounts to a whole lot of fun.

Preparation for Success

Wayne State thinks of its degree in two ways. First, there’s the piece of paper that signifies completion of a rigorous course of study that has supplied skills, data, and knowledge verifying a certain level of mastery of a chosen major. WSC students are ready to assume roles as teachers, trainers, laboratory assistants, business leaders, construction managers, coaches or pursue graduate studies or medical school by virtue of the college’s granting of the degree.

But there’s another way to think about a Wayne State degree. A Wayne State degree could be summed up by Malcolm Forbes’ contention that “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” At first blush that might seem an odd statement to make when we spend years seemingly filling your mind with tons of information.

What Wayne State actually does as an institution is open students’ minds to critical thinking and analysis. Through the course of a WSC education, the college gives its students the tools to discover for themselves those things necessary to make a life and make a living. By opening their minds, WSC makes it possible for them to shape their future, create their careers and continue the lifelong process of learning.

A Wayne State degree puts graduates in good company with the thousands of others who have earned their degrees at WSC. Wayne State graduates include young scientists honored for their work by Nobel laureates, Fulbright winners, a former governor, many state senators, doctors, business executives, lawyers, actors, reporters, even an Elvis impersonator.

A Wayne State degree places graduates among the 98 percent of WSC alumni either employed or attending graduate school within six months of graduation. Many WSC graduates join a state education workforce in which one out of every 10 teachers holds a degree from Wayne State.


Net Price Calculator



  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,200 $8,400
Fees $1,404 $1,404
Total $5,604 $9,804
Room and Board (on campus) $6,420 $6,420
Room Only $3,120 $3,120
Board Only $3,300 $3,300
Estimated Total On Campus $12,024 $16,224


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

92% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
66% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$4,176 Average amount of federal state local or institutional grant aid received
$5,409 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships, together with grants, are often referred to as “gift assistance”; they do not have to be repaid. Scholarships may be awarded for a single year or for multiple years. In the latter case, there may be renewal criteria associated with keeping the scholarship for subsequent years.

Students who have shown successful academic and extracurricular participation during high school are eligible for Wayne State College’s Merit Scholarships.

To apply for scholarships:

1. Apply for admission
2. Download and fill out the Scholarship Application form completely.
3. Submit two letters of recommendation from teachers or other professionals who know you and are familiar with your work.
4. An essay of 400-500 words on the following topic: Explain the significance of the following statement on your upcoming experience at Wayne State College. “Knowing is not enough, we must apply!” by Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

Students who have shown successful academic and extracurricular participation during high school should consider applying for Wayne State College’s Merit Scholarships.

John G. Neihardt Scholars Program – Full tuition, double occupancy room waiver and $500 stipend, renewable for 4 years up to 128 credit hours. Requires participation in the Honors Program.

Presidential Scholarship – Full tuition, renewable for four years up to 128 credit hours.

Leadership Award – Double occupancy room waiver for 2 years, renewable upon review thereafter.

Education Matters Scholarship – All students who have demonstrated academic success, have made a commitment to extensive high school involvement, and other significant leadership and volunteer opportunities will be considered.

Board of Trustees’ Award – Full tuition, renewable for 4 years up to 128 credit hours. Requires separate application.

Governor’s Opportunity Award – Half tuition, renewable for 4 years up to 128 credit hours. Requires a separate application.

Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) – Automatic acceptance to the University of Nebraska Medical Center upon the successful completion of the special curriculum in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Physician’s Assistant, Radiography, Nursing, Dental Hygiene or Clinical Laboratory Science at Wayne State College. Separate application required. 

Wayne State Foundation Scholarships – Various awards.

Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. Wayne State College offers several different types of grants, including:

Federal PELL Grant (PELL): Federal PELL Grant funds are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or professional degree. These awards are determined by the Federal government through its own methodology . Students must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Awards for full-time students range from $555 to $5,550.

The Advantage Program: The Nebraska State College System (NSCS) Advantage is a program that guarantees first-time freshmen students who qualify for a federal Pell Grant will pay no tuition at Wayne State College beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant funds are awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and are PELL Grant recipients. Awards for full-time students range from $200 to $1200. FSEOG is a limited fund therefore; recipients are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG): Nebraska Opportunity Grant funds are awarded to undergraduate students who are Nebraska residents and have applied for Federal financial aid through the FAFSA and are either eligible for a Federal PELL Grant or has an expected family contribution (EFC) of less than 6,000. Awards are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Awards for full-time students range from $200 to $1500.