ISU's enrollment surpasses the UI


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The rivalry between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University shifted off of the football field and into the record books on Wednesday.

For the first time since 1979, ISU has reached a higher total enrollment than the UI.

“The growth is exciting, but it’s daunting too,” said ISU President Steve Leath at the state Board of Regents meeting Wednesday.

This fall’s total enrollment on the Ames campus is 33,241 — a 2,201 increase from last year and the university’s fifth year of record enrollment.

ISU also saw its largest freshman class ever with 6,089 students. The university enrollment has grown each year since 2007.

The UI’s total enrollment this fall was 31,065, compared with 31,498 last year.

The UI first exceeded a total enrollment of 30,000 in 2007 and has leveled off to remain steady since.

UI President Sally Mason said at the regents’ meeting that increases in enrollment occurred simultaneously with the 2008 flood and forced the university to focus on enrollment management.

“Enrollment management works,” Mason said. “That’s the good news, and it’s been very good news for us.”

UI spokesman Tom Moore said the university is waiting for the completion of the new west campus residence hall and recovery from the 2008 flood to evaluate whether enrollment should continue to hold steady or grow.

Darin Wohlgemuth, interim director of the Office of Admissions at ISU, said there is no competition between the two universities.

“Our goal is to tell students about Iowa State — to see if it’s a good fit for them,” he said. “This Saturday is the competition.”

Despite the decrease in overall enrollment at the UI, more students than ever are applying, said Michael Barron, the UI assistant provost for enrollment management and executive director of admissions, in an email.

“All three public universities have things in common, certainly, but we each have our own distinctive characteristics and strengths,” he said.

The UI saw an increase of 491 applications received between 2011 and 2012.

Application numbers for 2013 at the UI were not available as of Wednesday evening.

“A major factor appears to be a decline in the number of students enrolling in the College of Law, which reflects a national trend that seems to be occurring as a result of decreased opportunities in the profession,” Moore said.

Enrollment in the UI College of Law decreased from 565 in 2011 to 532 in 2012.

But Wohlgemuth said the ISU engineering and agriculture programs have seen the highest demand for enrollment in recent years.

The ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences saw a nine percent increase in enrollment this fall and the and College of Engineering saw a 10 percent increase.

“This continued growth is a challenge in terms of housing and really keeping our brand, which is why the students are coming here in the first place,” Leath said. “We’re excited. We’re proud of the interest.”

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