CEDAR FALLS — Enrollment is up at all three state universities this fall. Iowa State University gained 208 students, the University of Northern Iowa 72, and the University of Iowa 27.
UNI has been trying for several years to keep numbers up and spokesman Pete Moris says this is good news. “Our biggest increase here at U-N-I in over a decade, and you know in addition to that increase in our total enrollment, our freshman enrollment is over 1500, which represents an 8% increase,” he says.
Getting students to transfer to UNI has been one of the strategies — including 857 student transfers this fall. “Whether you’re coming in from one of Iowa’s community colleges, or if you’re coming in from another four-year institution, we really try to educate those students about what you know, what will transfer over here to you and I and make that process as seamless as we can,” he says.
Moris says they’ve had to counter some of their own success in keeping enrollment up. “One in eleven UNI students graduates in only three years,” Moris says. “So we’ve got to really work hard to continue to bring new students in on the front end because we’re very good at graduating students on time or ahead of schedule.”
Moris says they’ve also had to address some state and national trends as well. “We’ve had a really hot economy, you’ve had low unemployment, you’ve had a lot of very good paying jobs available to folks who are maybe on the, you know, on that fence about whether to attend college, or go directly into the workforce,” Moris says. “And what we’ve specifically seen in the state of Iowa has been a real trend of students not going to any sort of post-secondary education and going right into the workforce.”
Moris says this year’s numbers are encouraging and they are seeing some good signs for the future. “Our applications right now for…. fall of next year are up 30 percent compared to the application rate we saw this time a year ago. So that’s one thing that’s very positive in that aspect,” he says.
Iowa State reported an increase of more than two percent for first-year students. The UI reports this is the fourth-largest incoming first-year class ever with 5064 students.
Iowa State edged back ahead of the University of Iowa for largest overall enrollment with 30,177 students in Ames, compared to 30,042 in Iowa City.