We’ll admit it, Omaha isn’t typically you first thought for Collegetown, USA. Yet, with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s 15,000 students and Creighton University’s 7,000 students, not to mention eight other colleges and universities, plus the University of Nebraska Medical Center, it’s no slouch either.
Omaha’s offerings run the gamut from the big state school to little Grace University, a private Bible university that graduates about 100 students a year. There’s a women’s college, the College of Saint Mary, and a community college, Metro, with campuses across the city.
Of course, it’s no secret that the team everyone is rooting for (starts with a C, ends in ornhuskers) lives an hour away in nearby Lincoln, but Omaha students have their pride. You’ll see them out on the town on the weekends, and taking advantage of the city Monday – Friday. Many students have cars, and the cheap cost of living in Omaha really lets those scholars live the Good Life.
You know, a six pack of Cheap Lite, reheated chicken nuggets, and a paper on Early Romanticism due by 9am. The Omaha.net Good Life!
Creighton is not Omaha’s biggest school, but it is its most prominent, regularly appearing in national rankings from the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Reports. The University is situated just north of downtown, in the emerging NoDo neighborhood, which has transformed itself from a run down industrial area to a trendy home for bars (like Saddlecreek’s Slowdown), art galleries (like Hot Shops), and the new home of the College World Series (TD Ameritrade Park).
Creighton’s 130 acres befit a university with national aspirations that regularly ranks as one of the best schools in the Midwest. Though not an overly large school, with just over 7,000 combined grad and undergrads, Creighton is home to nine colleges, including graduate programs in medicine, law, dentistry, and nursing.
The University is known for its strong Division 1 basketball and soccer programs, conceding football entirely to Lincoln by not even fielding a team. An appearance in the NCAA tournament is expected in basketball and soccer, though, and the students really rally behind their sports teams.
The Bluejay Bar & Grill (just off campus, 2416 Davenport St., across from the Joslyn Museum) is a fixture in students’ social scene. Named after the University’s mascot, Billy the Bluejay, The ‘Jay features everything you’d want in a college bar: drink specials, free shuttles to the Qwest center on game nights, and an hour of free beer following basketball games!
Nebraska’s third largest school, the University of Nebraska at Omaha is in the process of transforming itself from a local commuter school to an institution with larger aspirations and the facilities to match. It has become more selective in its admissions process, moving into the top tier of Midwestern universities with a price that’s hard to beat for in-state students.
Almost 15,000 call UNO their home, with over 11,000 of those coming from the undergraduate ranks. The school operates three campuses, the main one of which is located just west of downtown at 60th and Dodge. While construction and a fairly unattractive campus might prevent the University from shining at first glance, its computing and engineering facilities are top notch, and the graduate business school is strong.
The Division II Mavericks field 14 athletic programs, competing in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association in all sports except hockey. The school regularly wins conference championships, and has realistic national championship goals in some sports, especially their strong wrestling program.
Metropolitan Community College, commonly referred to as Metro, operates multiple campuses throughout Omaha, and is the largest school in the city, with over 29,000 credit students and over 17,000 non-credit students.
Metro’s main campuses can be found in North Omaha at Fort Omaha, a former US Army supply station, in South Omaha, and in Elkhorn. The college also has centers in Bellevue, La Vista, and Fremont, and offers classes at Offutt Air Force Base. Student housing is offered at the Fort Omaha location.
As the only public academic health science center in Nebraska, UNMC attracts the state’s top medical students, for once allowing Omaha out of the long shadow cast by the flagship University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Located at 42nd and Emile Streets, on the western edge of Midtown Omaha, the University is home to over 3,000 students, but more than 10,000 students, employees, staff, and faculty are regularly found on the 10 square blocks that make up the campus.
With programs regularly ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News and World Reports, UNMC expects to pull students from around the nation. There are colleges for medicine, nursing, pharmacy, allied health professionals, and public health, with a dental college located in Lincoln on UNL’s campus. The school is aggressively expanding its facilities, and is partnered with the Nebraska Medical Center and a physician’s group, the UNMC Physicians, together having an annual impact of over $1.5 billion on the Omaha region.