Administrators at the three state-supported universities will tell you they’re each unique in their own way, and that’s reflected somewhat in the latest fall enrollment figures. At the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, there are 12-thousand-824 students taking fall classes — 124 students over the school’s minimum target. But U-N-I registrar Phil Patton says things won’t be overcrowded, as enrollment was down compared to last fall. He says their optimum enrollment goes all the way up to 12-thousand-900, so he says the fell comfortable with their numbers. U-N-I has capped enrollment in recent years due to budget cuts and other factors. Patton says they may be able to ease the cap soon. He says they’re optimistic the economy will continue growing and the legislature will increase funding, allowing them to go into a slow growth pattern. The story is just the opposite over in Ames, where Iowa State University Admissions Director Marc Harding says enrollment is 26-thousand-380 — down three-point-six percent. He says there was a decline in new freshmen, a slight decline in new transfer students and graduate student enrollment — so the decline was across the board. Harding says there’re a lot of factors that led to the decline. He says they had a record number of students who graduated, they have 48 students on active military duty, and 130 fewer international students enrolled. He says increase restrictions going back to 9-11 have hurt I-S-U’s heavy international student enrollment. Harding says the decrease has a mixed impact on the school.He says there are fewer students vying for classes, but there is also less tuition coming in too, leaving less money for services. At the University of Iowa in Iowa City, the fall enrollment is 29-thousand-745 students — exactly the same as last year. Admissions director Michael Barron says holding steady wasn’t due to any great plan. He says it would be serendipity at best. Barron says it’s not bad to stay the course. He says it’s definitely good news and allows them to meet all the needs of the incoming class. He says they had targeted a new class of about four-thousand, which was a little lower than their targets each of the last two years. Barron says one thing that stands out in the numbers is an increase in Iowa kids attending the school. He says there’s been a small decrease in out-of-state-students and he says the anecdotal evidence suggests the higher costs of education might be the reason for the decline.
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