Iowa Board of Regents

Fall 2019 Enrollment at Iowa's Public Universities

Fall enrollment at Iowa’s public universities totaled 75,128 students; the sixth-highest enrollment in the history of the Regents system and bested only by the previous five years. This total represents a decline of 3.5 percent over one year, but remains 3.3 percent higher than totals from 10 years ago.

Reasons for the enrollment decline are many. An improving economy and job market and increased national competition for college students are two. A boom in Chinese infrastructure, including colleges and universities, is one reason for the recent drop in International enrollment, down 44.1 percent from its peak in 2015.

Despite the enrollment drop, the Fall 2019 enrollment numbers contain plenty of positives. Students who identify as racial/ethnic minorities made up 15.6 percent of the student body, the highest percentage ever. The percent of women STEM majors jumped 3.2 percentage points to 35.8 percent - also the highest ever. 

Large numbers of students continue to come from outside of Iowa to enroll in our public universities. Iowa remains a net importer of students, with neighboring states Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin sending more than 15,000 students through our doors. All told, 22,825 out-of-state students were enrolled at one of Iowa’s public universities during the Fall 2019 census. 

More than 46,000 Iowa residents were enrolled, in keeping with the Board’s mission to serve Iowans and provide accessible, affordable, high-quality higher education. 

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