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Iowa Universities Report Enrollment Growth

Dean Borg/IPR
Iowa Board of Regents meeting today in Iowa City

Fall enrollment at Iowa State University’s is up 1.9 percent over last fall’s record.  With 36,660 students this year, ISU is again the largest of the state’s three public universities. 

The University of Iowa is reporting enrollment of 33,334 this fall, also up from last year’s figure. 

At the University of Northern Iowa, total enrollment for the fall semester at 11,905 -- 95 short of its goal of 12,000 students.  This includes 2,000 freshmen, the largest UNI freshman class since 2008.

Enrollment figures for the three campuses were reported this morning to the Iowa Board of Regents.

UNI’s interim President Jim Wohlpart told the Regents that while total enrollment isn’t quite meeting goals, UNI’s freshman class differs.

“And let me just point out…it’s our largest ever, out-of-state freshman class,” he said.

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld made it clear he isn’t in an enrollment race, and told the Regents, ’we may dial things down’.

“Yes, I did use the phrase, ‘dial down’,” he said.  “And let me put it in this context. The size we’re at is fully utilized, and I think quite well, the resources we have on campus.”

Harreld says a freshman class in the 5400-5700 student range is a good size for the Iowa City campus to handle.  This year's incoming class is 5,643 students, 402 more than in 2015.

Iowa State President Steven Leath told the Regents, “We’re much bigger than five years ago…we’ve got to manage enrollment a little more effectively.”

A statement from ISU says enrollment at its campus has grown by 11,198 students (44%) over the last 10 years.  Leath says ISU needs to make sure it is growing at a pace that allows it to maintain high quality.

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director