UI reports enrollment growth in class of 2023

The UI has reported a larger incoming class after recent first-year classes had begun to shrink.


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After explaining shrinking enrollment by pointing to its strategy of intentionally dialing down growth in the student population, the University of Iowa on Thursday reported a spike in the size of its incoming first-year class.

The class of 2023 has 4,986 undergraduate students — 108 more than the class of 2022. According to a UI statement, the increase stems from “efforts by university administration to manage enrollment growth.” 

“I’m delighted to welcome these new students, who bring so many different backgrounds and experiences and so many unique talents to our campus,” UI Provost Montserrat Fuentes said in a statement. “Coming to the UI is going to be life-changing for these students. They are going to have amazing opportunities here, and we are committed to making sure they have the resources and support they need to achieve their goals.”

Before reporting its enrollment numbers, UI President Bruce Harreld told the state Board of Regents in August that the UI was examining ways to house the unexpectedly large incoming class. For the first time since 2016, the UI returned to using expanded housing in the residence-hall lounges until permanent residences open up. 

The UI had begun to actively market campus-housing facilities to more returning students as the recent incoming first-year class sizes shrunk and Catlett Hall’s opening provided more housing space.

Despite this academic year’s enrollment spike, the UI reported to the regents last month that gross tuition revenue is budgeted to decline by $5.1 million in fiscal 2020 because of the Summer Hawk Tuition Grant program’s elimination and other projected enrollment changes. That’s factoring in revenue from tuition-rate hikes of 3.9 percent for resident undergraduates and 1 percent for nonresidents.

While the size of the first-year class grew, the number of graduate students has decreased this year. The class of 2022 had 1,955 graduate students compared with 1,849 this year. 

Additionally, international-student enrollment at the UI has been on the decline since fall 2016. Now, international students make up only 2 percent of the undergrad population — a 2 percent drop from the class of 2022.  

The number of students who identify as a member of an underrepresented group and those who identify as first-generation students have both increased by 1 percent, to 20 and 22 percent, respectively.

The UI received national recognition for its initiatives to support first-generation students in the spring. The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators gives the UI’s first-generation initiatives support, and the UI is required to report its progress to the organization at different benchmarks. 

“I know from my own experience that it’s not always easy to be the first member of a family to attend college, but I am committed to supporting those students so that they can thrive,” Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers said in the UI statement. “… We will continue to work hard to create a welcoming and inclusive place that all our students can call home.”

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