The presidents of the three state universities gave the Board of Regents a report on the start of the new semester at their meeting Wednesday. UNI president, Bill Ruud, told the board they continue to work on attracting new students. “UNI’s fall enrollment, 2014, is 11,928. We are pleased to see our efforts to increase new student enrollment are producing results and this dimension of our enrollment is up for a second consecutive year,” Ruud.
But the increase in new students hasn’t keep the number of students overall from dropping. “Overall our enrollment is down somewhat given the previous smaller classes of students who are moving through our system. Some of the highlights for enrollment this year: an increase of 4.4 percent in new students direct from high school, an increase of 20-percent of new minority enrollment…and total minority enrollment is at 8.9 percent compared to 8.1 percent last year,” Rudd says.
He says more students returned to the Cedar Falls campus this fall after their first year. “The rate for students returning for a second year is 84.7 percent, compared to 82.9 percent,” according to Ruud. The student retention rate is the highest it’s been in 15 years at UNI.
Iowa State University president, Steven Leath is in a different situation when it comes to students. “There’s always an excitement about the enrollment numbers and there’s also an apprehension because we have grown so much over the last few years. And we did grow again this year, substantially. We have a new fall enrollment officially of 34,732 students — which is up nearly 15-hundred students — and as you would expect, an all-time record,” Leath says.
Leath says they set another high mark. “We’re also pleased to report that we were able to accommodate an all-time record in our housing,” Leath says. “We have 12,350 students now living in our facilities. All of our new freshmen and transfer students were guaranteed housing in our campus or campus-managed apartments. We only turned down 220 students, and that’s because they missed the application deadline.”
He says finding enough space for all the students has not been easy. “Demand for housing has increased 42 percent over the last nine years while enrollment increased 29 percent. So, the demand is actually exceeding the increase in enrollment,” according to Leath. “It speaks largely to the experience we provide in our housing. And the students who live in our housing have higher graduation rates, higher retention rates and better grades.”
University of Iowa president, Sally Mason, says the school has a lot of new faces on campus. “Once again this fall we welcomed our largest and most diverse, and academically best-prepared first-year class to campus,” Mason says. “We have 4,666 new first-time freshmen — which is about a 4.6 percent increase over last year.”
The big freshmen class help bump up the overall enrollment. “Our campus enrollment overall is at 31,387, which is more than 300 students from last year. Our graduate student enrollment is stable. Our professional student enrollment is stable as well,” Mason says. Mason says it’s her goal to continue growing the number of students on campus.