Aug. 13, 2010
UI prepared for record number of first-year students
The University of Iowa is attracting more students than ever to its Iowa City campus. Approximately 4,500 first-year students are expected to enroll in classes this fall. That’s about 450 more first-year students than last year, and about 200 more than the previous record-breaking incoming class, back in 2006.
Not only is this incoming class the largest class in the UI’s history, it is among the most diverse. That’s a result of both an increasing number of U.S. minority students choosing Iowa (12.7 percent of the incoming class identify as minorities, compared with about 10 percent of last year’s incoming class), and a large jump in international student enrollment. [See related story: UI welcomes record number of undergraduate international students: http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2010/august/081310international-enrollment.html]
An official count of students will not be available until 10 days after the start of classes, but the Office of Admissions currently estimates that nearly 9 percent of the incoming class is made up of international students. The rest of the class is split evenly between Iowa residents and out-of-state students.
"The mix of students in this incoming class is very exciting," said Michael Barron, UI director of admissions and assistant provost for enrollment management. "The geographic diversity will mirror the world in which our graduates will eventually work. This has definite educational value for our students."
While the percentage of in-state students is lower than it was last year, the actual number of Iowans admitted to the UI is up. The university continues to admit all qualified residents who apply. Admission is determined by the Regent Admission Index, a formula used by all three public universities in Iowa that predicts academic success based on test scores, high school rank and grade-point-average, and the number of completed high school courses.
The growth in enrollment was part of a long-term plan to increase the first-year class by 100 students each year for five years, beginning with this fall’s incoming class. That Iowa was able to come so close to that goal in just one year – rather than five – reflects the value placed on an Iowa education across the state, the country, and the world, Barron said.
To ensure all students get the academic experience they’re expecting, the UI has hired more instructors for high-demand first-year courses, such as rhetoric and General Education Program courses in math, science, and world languages. It’s also offering 30 percent more first-year seminars than last year. These small courses offer students the opportunity to engage with faculty on topics ranging from global warming to hip-hop. The seminars are one of the ways the UI is making small group experiences available to first-year students, something the administration considers a top priority.
With more first-year students coming to campus, University Housing and Residential Dining are seeing an increased demand for their services, too. Each year 90 to 96 percent of first-year students choose to live in the residence halls.
The UI has added more campus housing for undergraduates by converting Parklawn Hall from family housing back to a residence hall, and leasing a section of The Lodge, a privately owned apartment complex near the Studio Arts Building. Both Parklawn and the UI’s section of The Lodge will operate as residence halls for transfer and returning students, freeing up space for first-year students in residences closer to the main campus. University Housing also negotiated reduced rates for several nearby off-campus apartments for transfer students. Those apartments are not university property; students will sign a lease with a landlord.
University Housing expects high demand for campus housing to continue beyond this school year and is already making plans for additional housing for the 2011-2012 academic year, says Von Stange, assistant vice president for student services and director of university housing and dining. And in June, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa authorized the UI to proceed with project planning for a new residence hall.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACTS: Michael Barron, Admissions, 319-335-1548, firstname.lastname@example.org; Von Stange, Housing and Dining, 319-335-3000, email@example.com; Tom Moore, interim UI spokesperson, 319-356-3945, firstname.lastname@example.org; writer, Anne Kapler, Office of University Relations, 319-384-0043