AMES, Iowa — Enrollment figures for Iowa’s public universities were released for the fall of 2022.  It was mixed results, with one school’s enrollment up slightly and two others down a little.

Enrollment at the University of Iowa sits a 30,015, up from 29,909 in 2021.

Iowa State posted 29,969, down from 30,078 in 2021.

Northern Iowa showed 8,949 students, down from 9,231 in 2021.

Numbers for the University of Iowa

About 45 percent of Iowa’s students identify as male and about 55 percent as female. Graduate students total 6,156, and professional students total 1,886. 

This fall’s incoming first-year class has topped previous records with an average high school GPA of 3.82. This reflects ongoing efforts by UI Office of Admissions to recruit high-ability students.

The Class of 2026 is also the third-largest incoming first-year class ever with 5,178 students, about 657 more than last year’s fall census.

About 1 in 5 members of the Class of 2026 identify as a member of a minority group. About 1 in 5 members of the Class of 2026 are first-generation students.

Numbers for Iowa State University

There are 25,241 undergraduate, 4,094 graduate and 634 veterinary medicine students on campus.

There are students from all 99 Iowa counties, all 50 states, and 114 countries.

While overall enrollment is down, first-year students increased 6.3 percent over last year and 13 percent over two years.

Numbers for the University of Northern Iowa

Graduation rates for UNI students stand at record high levels for the second year in a row. The four-year graduation rate increased by 5 percent over last year, and is nearly 20 percentage points above similar universities. 1 in 12 UNI students graduate in only three years.

The university’s total fall enrollment is 8,949, which includes students from all 99 Iowa counties, 43 U.S. states and 51 countries across the globe.

Learning curves after COVID-19

For the University of Iowa there was a recovery from COVID-19, and other factors still can impact the enrollment numbers.

“The economy really, has interesting things that’s impacting people’s not only decisions to work, people can make a pretty good amount of money,” said Brent Gage, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Iowa.  “A lot of folks who save money for college and the endowments took a hit, so they really have to make a decision.”

“We go back to 2016, which was a record year for Iowa State,” said Laura Doering, Vice President for Enrollment Management at ISU. “I will tell you from an infrastructure standpoint, it was a lot of students. Although we welcomed them all, it was a difficult situation, expanding sidewalks to be able to accommodate the number on campus.”

After having enrollment in mid to low 30’s both Iowa and Iowa State have learned some perspective.

“Iowa State really recognizes that we’re not going after that record in enrollment anymore, rather what I would call healthy enrollment you know which really sits around high 20s or low 30’s,” said Doering.

“Probably between 31,000 and 33,000 is about right for us,” said Gage. “Any bigger than that, I think we start to diminish the student experience a little bit.”

For students on campus, 30,000 or so students sounds like a lot.

“It’s shocking because the campus doesn’t feel that big when you’re out there,” said Lauren Bice, an ISU Student from Norwalk.  “I see people I know all the time so it didn’t seem that big.”

“Iowa State the big part of my family history. my Dad my family my brother and my sister all went here so it’s kind like a family thing and I’m a big Cyclone fan,” said Sarah Petersen, an ISU student from Ida Grove.