Sept. 9, 2010

Fall enrollment soars to a record 28,682 students

by Annette Hacker, News Service

To say that Iowa State's fall 2010 enrollment of 28,682 students is a record-breaker is an understatement.

Not only did overall enrollment increase by more than 2.6 percent (up 737 students) over the previous record of 27,945 in fall 2009, enrollment in nearly every category also has set records at Iowa State this fall:

  • Record undergraduate enrollment of 23,104, an increase of 583 students from fall 2009. The previous undergraduate record was in 2001 with 23,060 students.
  • Record graduate student enrollment of 4,991, an increase of 131 students from fall 2009's record of 4,860. Prior to the last two record-breaking years, Iowa State's highest graduate enrollment was 4,789 in fall 1991.
  • Record international student enrollment of 3,327, an increase of 310 students from the previous record of 3,017 students in fall 2009. International students equal nearly 12 percent of ISU's total student body.
  • Record professional (veterinary medicine) student enrollment of 587, an increase of 23 students from the previous record of 564 students set in fall 2009.
  • Record new transfer student enrollment from Iowa's community colleges. This fall, 1,001 Iowa community college students transferred to Iowa State to continue their education, up from the previous record of 982 students set in fall 2009. Total new transfer enrollment is 1,673, up from 1,622 in fall 2009.
  • Fall 2010 has ushered in the most diverse student enrollment in Iowa State's history. More than one in five ISU students is either a minority or an international student. Total U.S. minority and international enrollment is 5,942 students, or 20.7 percent of the student body. (Last fall, total international + U.S. minority enrollment was 5,550 students, or 19.9 percent of total enrollment.) U.S. minority enrollment is 2,615 (9.12 percent of total enrollment), a new record and an increase over last fall's 2,532 students. Each year since 2006, Iowa State has met or exceeded the 8.5 percent minority enrollment goal set by the Iowa Board of Regents.
  • 70 percent of ISU's undergraduates -- 16,084 students - are from Iowa. In total, 18,448 Iowa residents are enrolled at ISU. That's about 64.3 percent of the student body overall.
  • 10,234 students are nonresidents, an increase of 792 students from fall 2009.
  • Iowa State has attracted its second-largest freshman class ever: 4,552 students, an increase of 196 students from last fall. The record was set in 2001 with 4,654 students.
  • Iowa State is not only attracting more students, but retention initiatives are working and more students are staying. The university increased its first-year, full-time retention rate by 2.1 percent. Of the students who began at Iowa State in fall 2009, 86.1 percent of them continued in fall 2010, compared to 84 percent the prior year.

"We're delighted to welcome record numbers of students across the board," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy. "Iowa State provides one of the highest quality educational experiences anywhere in the nation, and students are confirming that by enrolling at Iowa State in record numbers."

Marc Harding, director of admissions, says Iowa State's robust enrollment numbers speak for themselves.

"There has been a strategic and university-wide effort to ramp up recruitment during the past five years," Harding said. "A record enrollment is a sure sign that prospective students and families believe Iowa State is an outstanding place to pursue higher education and enjoy a college experience that is second to none."

Harding acknowledges that sustaining new student enrollment at this level could be challenging, given the demographics (a declining number of high school students in Iowa and the Midwest), and increased competition for those students.

"Achieving future enrollment objectives will continue to require the dedicated efforts of the entire Ames/ISU community. Faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni know the value of an Iowa State education. They all play a significant role in maintaining the excellence of Iowa State University and helping us to share our story with future students," Harding said.