All three state universities are confirming record enrollment numbers they projected earlier this year. Iowa State University hit a record fall enrollment of 28,682 students — an increase of 737 students. Records for undergraduate, graduate and international students are included in those numbers.
I.S.U. president Gregory Geoffroy says the economy has students thinking more about the need for a degree to get a job. Geoffroy says the economy is also partly the reason for the increase in graduate enrollment programs, as he says in tough economic times students will often go ahead and enroll in graduate programs.
Geoffroy says the enrollment shows they are offering a good product for students, and cites the international enrollment as an example.
He says they have a lot of students from China, and they don’t recruit students from China, so word-of-mouth reputation of the university brings them in. Geoffroy says they like having the international students to enrich the university experience on campus and he says many end up staying in the U.S.
Just over 1,000 students transferred to Ames from community colleges, and Geoffroy says that is part of an effort to work together with the community colleges. Geoffroy says the attitude has definitely changed as they have made it a priority to work with community colleges. With record enrollment comes a record number of students vying for services, and Geoffroy believes they can handle the demand.
Geoffroy says as far as he knows all of the students have completed their enrollment, and there may be fewer options in some cases, but he says they have worked hard to see that students are able to get all the courses they need.
On the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls they’re marking their fourth straight record enrollment — up 121 students this fall. U.N.I. vice president for student affairs, Terry Hogan, agrees the economy plays some role. Hogan says the economy is a double-edged sword as student recognize the importance of getting a degree, while getting financial aid to go to school becomes an important piece of the puzzle.
U.N.I. saw increases in all areas of students, including an increase in transfer students. Hogan says there has been a significant level of collaboration and cooperation between the school and the community colleges so students can transfer and finish their bachelor degrees. Hogan says the continuing increase in enrollment has allowed them to plan and be prepared for the extra students this fall.
Hogan says the enrollment this fall is in line with the plans they have so they are confident they have the faculty, classrooms, dorms and dining hall space to accommodate the students. U.N.I.’s enrollment for the fall is 13,201, an increase of just under one percent (.9%).
The University of Iowa says it set a record by getting 86.3% of first-time freshmen in the fall 2009 to return to campus this fall. And spokesman Tom More says their recruiting efforts paid off early as they brought in 494 new freshmen for this fall.
Moore says their original plan was to bring in 100 news students each year over the next five years. “And unfortunately all of them showed up all at once, so that really made us do some preparations to be ready for this big incoming class,” Moore says. He says they so far have been able to get all the students the classes and places to live that they need.
Moore says students do understand the need to get a degree in a tough job market. “It’s very common that during times of economic hardship or economic difficulties, that enrollment does increase at universities and colleges, so we’re certainly part of that trend,” Moore says. He says they are also still a “destination university” for international students, especially China, as he says China has still not developed the type of university system we have in the U.S.
Iowa’s international student enrollment increases just over 46-percent. Moore says they had to make some special arrangements to handle the influx of new students. He says they have a couple hundred students in temporary housing, something he says is common. Moore says students in temporary housing should be moved out into regular housing by October. One thing they’ve done to house students is contract with a facility known as the “Lodge” to put students into the building that is operated just like a residence hall.
The total enrollment on the Iowa City campus is 30,825, and increase of 497 over the fall of 2009.
Read more about the enrollment at the three schools through the links below: