Iowa Board of Regents

Fall Enrollment Report Highlights

Fall 2020 enrollment is down 4.4 percent from 2019, a drop of 3,333 students across Iowa’s public universities. This drop largely was expected and much of the decline can be attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A decrease in enrolling freshmen and a significant decrease in international students tell much of the story. 
Freshmen enrollment declined by 10.1 percent at Iowa State and 9.8 percent at UI, but climbed 3.4 percent at UNI compared to 2019; a remarkable number considering the challenges of the pandemic.

International enrollment, especially from China, has dropped considerably over the last five years and continued to decline in 2020.  The COVID-19 pandemic is likely a large factor in the international enrollment decline over the past year. Growth in the number of Chinese colleges and universities as well as increased international recruitment of Chinese students are factors in the longer-term drop of Chinese student enrollment.  

Graduate and professional student enrollment continued its upward trend at UI, growing by 3.7 percent. Iowa State and UNI saw graduate and professional enrollment declines of 2.3 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively. 

Additionally, students who identify as a racial or ethnic minority continue to grow as a percent of the total student population. Students who are racial/ethnic minorities comprise 16.6 percent of the student population, an all-time high.

Further, the number of students with military veteran status continue to rise. Iowa’s public universities enrolled 1,871 veterans in Fall 2020, a record.

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