Iowa State University has more students on campus this fall than anytime in history. The University of Northern Iowa is also reporting a boost in enrollment, while fewer students are attending the University of Iowa. I.S.U. Admissions Director Marc Harding says 27,945 students are enrolled this fall, up 4% from the same time last year.

The student population at I.S.U. includes 18,503 residents of Iowa. “That’s the highest number of Iowans enrolled here since fall 2004,” Harding said. “I think the economy is more than likely playing a role in that.” He says an economic downturn encourages more high school graduates to seek higher education because college grads typically earn more money and are less likely to become unemployed.

The I.S.U student population also includes a record 3,017 international students and a record U.S. minority enrollment of 2,533 students.

“That means one in five students on the Iowa State campus is an international student or an American ethnic minority student,” Harding said. ISU attracted its third largest freshman class in history this fall, with 4,356 students.

That’s 190 fewer than last year and Harding expects that trend to continue. “The number of graduating seniors from Iowa public high schools is projected to be about 7% less five years from now according to the Iowa Department of Education,” Harding said. “So, the number of Iowans that are in high school is declining and the number of graduating high school seniors in surround states is declining…so, our freshman classes will certainly be smaller in the future compared to today.”

Fall enrollment at the University of Northern Iowa increased for the third consecutive year. There are 13,080 students on the Cedar Falls campus. That’s an increase of 172 students from fall 2008. In Iowa City, there are 30,328 students enrolled at the University of Iowa this fall. That’s a decrease of 233 students compared to fall 2008. There are 17-thousand-843 (17,843) UI students this fall who are residents of Iowa. That compares to 18,406 Iowa residents attending UI last fall.