Regents will hear request to dissolve application portal for public Iowa universities

Due to low usage, a low number of residents applying to each of the three public universities in Iowa, and the efficiency of the National Common Application, the Board of Regents will consider dissolving their online application portal.


Katie Goodale

Board members listen during the Board of Regents meeting on September 12, 2018 in the IMU Main Lounge. Regents members discussed remodeling various buildings and sights across various Iowa campuses.

Katie Ann McCarver, News Editor

The state Board of Regents will consider dissolving its rarely used Iowa Public Universities Application Portal, a college-application site exclusive to its three universities, at its Sept. 18-19 meeting in Council Bluffs.

According to regents’ documents, the Council of Provosts and Admissions Study Team backs the request to dissolve the online portal, a decision that stems from consistent low-usage numbers and a low percentage of residential Iowans applying to more than one regent university. The regents govern the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.

Initially approved by the regents in 2014 as part of its Transparent, Inclusive, Efficiency Review, the application portal was launched the next year — just in time for students enrolling in fall 2016. 

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that the web tool cost the regents $290,000 total, not including the $3.3 million paid to Deloitte Consulting for the development of the 2014 efficiency plan as a whole.

Available on the regents’ website, the portal is meant to maximize efficiency for U.S. students applying to more than one regent university, the document said.

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“The portal will guide students through application questions common to all three universities plus specific questions applicable to each school,” the regents said in a 2015 news release.

The regents’ documents said the portal was advertised to the Iowa School Counselors Association and to Iowa school districts, but increased outreach did not lead to increased use of the resource.

“Nearly 90 [percent] of resident applicants apply to only one of the three regent universities,” the document reads. “Students continue to prefer to make application directly to each regent university or through the National Common Application.”

Regents documents emphasized the efficiency of encouraging students to apply to each through the National Common Application, which includes all three and more than 800 other colleges nationwide.

Based on numbers provided in regents’ documents, only 31 total incoming students applied to all three universities using the regents’ portal for fall 2019 enrollment.

If approved, the discontinuation of the Iowa Public Universities Application Portal will be effective immediately.