Fall enrollment is up at Iowa State and Northern Iowa and held about the same at the University of Iowa.
Iowa State University president, Steven Leath, told the Board of Regents Wednesday the fall enrollment of 33,241 is the largest in school history. “We have the highest number ever of transfer students at Iowa State. The highest number ever of new Iowa community college transfer students, the highest number new direct high school students, highest number ever of Iowa resident undergrads, the largest number of undergrads total, the largest number of U.S. minority students and largest number of international students,” Leath says.
He says a lot of his time has been spent dealing with the enrollment issues. “We’ve grown for seven straight years, but if you translate this just into the last two years — just the two falls I have been here — we’ve grown at well over 27-percent of the entire UNI student body. Which is a huge challenge for us,” Leath says.
Leath tried to put the number of students on the Ames campus in more perspective. “There are 835 Iowa cities that have smaller populations than just our two-year increase, which is pretty amazing,” Leath explained. “Our overall community of 33,241 students is larger than the population of 79 Iowa Counties. And if you were to consider Iowa State’s campus as a city — we’d be the 15th largest city in the state.”
UNI’s enrollment was up 359 students above the Cedar Falls school’s projection at 12,159. The enrollment include a 3.3 percent increase in new students with just over one percent of those coming directly from high school.
“It’s very encouraging that our fall 2013 enrollment numbers are well above our original budget projections,” UNI President Bill Ruud said. “As always, enrollment at UNI is a priority, but even more so is our commitment to our students and their educational experience. Our focus continues to be on providing the best undergraduate education in the state of Iowa.”
The University of Iowa’s fall enrollment was only 25 students off last year’s number. U-I president, Sally Mason, says that is by design as they began a “enrollment management” strategy back in 2008.
“In addition to a catastrophic flood, we also experienced unprecedented growth in campus enrollment. And in the wake of those two events, our attention had to turn to more careful and thoughtful enrollment management, and in particular then student success initiatives,” Mason explains. “Because what we really want to do was make sure that if we were going to maintain these higher number of students on our campus — we had to be certain that they would not just enroll — but stay with us and ultimately graduate.”
Mason says the steps they’ve taken have worked. “The freshman class of 2009 was the first to experience a lot of our enhanced student success initiatives. And the immediate effect was a gain of more than three percentage points in the freshman/sophomore student retention rate. So, we went from around 83-percent to over 86-percent in virtually a year,” according to Mason.
She says the gradation rate for that class also increased, and they were able to overcome that and still maintain their student level this fall.”So the combination of retention, student success initiatives and careful enrollment management — we are steady,” Mason says. She says they are continuing to emphasize student retention and graduation in an effort to allow students to complete their degrees in a timely fashion. “That saves costs for us as well as costs for them.”
The U-I enrollment this fall is 30,065 students.