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UI sees growth in resident applicants

BY AARON WALKER | OCTOBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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At first glance, Iowa isn’t a Hawkeye state.

But with new programs underway to boost in-state enrollment, the University of Iowa has amassed more applicants from within Iowa’s borders in the last year in an attempt to play catch-up with Iowa State University.

So far this year, the university has seen a 14.7 percent increase in resident applications as of Oct. 10, contributing to a 11.25 percent increase overall for the 2015-16 academic year compared with this time last year. 

“We have made it a concerted effort to recruit Iowans this year and have implemented a number of strategies to increase applications and enrollments,” said Emil Rinderspacher, the UI director of Admissions.

The UI Admissions Office reported it has received 2,301 applications from residents for the 2015-16 school year as of Oct. 10, compared with 2,006 applicants at this time last year.

In the fall of 2013, the UI had nearly 10,430 full-time, undergraduate Iowa residents as students. Last fall, Iowa State University saw roughly 18,009 resident students.

Despite the upturn in the number of Iowa applicants at the UI, application rates at another regent school remain stagnant, though still receiving more from Iowans.

Iowa State University has received 3,371 applications as of Oct. 10, said Phil Caffrey, the director of ISU Admissions and Operations Policy.

“Our fall 2015 resident undergraduate applications are running very consistent with where we were at this same time last year for the fall 2014 admissions cycle,” Caffrey said.

The University of Northern Iowa reported it has received 2,092 applicants for the next academic year.      

Similarly, UNI Vice President for Enrollment Management Matthew Kroeger said the school has ramped up its resident recruitment efforts. It did this by hiring four additional admission counselors, increased the number of open house and visit days, and improved marketing and communication efforts.

Kroeger said UNI staff would continue to share the university story with prospective students across the state and the benefits of attending that university.

With fall being the busiest time of the year, Rinderspacher said, UI officials are currently visiting schools, conducting college fairs, and hosting large on-campus visits.

“We’ve really looked at all aspects of our recruitment and outreach and have made a lot of changes to better serve prospective students and improve our recruitment efforts,” he said.

Rinderspacher said new programs include the hiring of a regional representative in Des Moines, delivering more intense communication campaigns, targeting of high-achieving students, enhancing scholarship awards for residents, and improving the campus visit experience.

UI freshman Amisha Kearney said scholarships were a big motivator in her college decision.

“[UI officials] talked about the programs they offer at Iowa, they talked about in-state tuition, the scholarships they offer, and answered any questions we had,” Kearney said.

Rindenspacher said UI Admissions staff will visit every high school in Iowa at least once this year.
Hannah Kinney, a high-school senior in Waterloo who applied and was accepted to the UI this year, said she also had UI recruiters visit her school. 

“[A UI representative] came once and talked about the academic scholarships, housing, majors, admissions, and some specific questions,” Kinney said. “I also got numerous mailings.”

With the number of applicants continuing to grow, Rinderspacher said, he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the number of UI applicants thus far.

“Obviously as an agricultural state, it stands to reason that many Iowans are attracted to programs at ISU,” he said. “We have Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, which attracts Iowans, but they both have limited enrollments for good reasons … We are working on recruiting more Iowans in some of the programs that we both share including engineering, business, etc., as well as students who are unsure of their majors.”


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