Regent universities report six-year enrollment drop

The 2022 enrollment report highlighted a decrease in in-state students and increased enrollment of students who identify as a racial or ethnic minority.


Matt Sindt

Board of Regents president Michael Richard and president pro tem Sherry Bates listen at the Iowa Board of Regents meeting hosted at the University of Northern Iowa on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.

Grace Katzer, News Reporter

Overall student enrollment grew at the University of Iowa in fall 2022 despite a decline in Iowans enrolled at Iowa’s public universities for the sixth year in a row.

The overall student enrollment decline at the state’s public universities was largely due to a decrease in Iowa residents by 2.4 percent (1,051 students) and international students by 7.7 percent (337 students), according to a state Board of Regents enrollment report.

Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the UI reported fewer Iowa residents at all three institutions:

● ISU in-state student enrollment dropped by 3.1 percent from 17,232 students in fall 2021 to 16,696 students in fall 2022.
● The UI in-state student enrollment dropped by 2 percent from 17,657 students in fall 2021 to 17,308 students in fall 2022.
● The UNI in-state student enrollment dropped by 2 percent, going from 8,281 students in fall 2021 to 8,115 students in fall 2022.

The UI was the only regent university to report an increase in total student enrollment, with 105 more students in fall 2022, which is a 0.4 percent increase from fall 2021. Both ISU and UNI saw a decline in total student enrollment.

Additionally, the UI was the only regent university to see an increase in undergraduate students:

● ISU undergraduate enrollment declined by 2.2 percent in 2022, from 25,808 students in 2021 to 25,241 in 2022.
● UNI undergraduate enrollment declined 3 percent in 2022, from 7,981 students in 2021 to 7,739 students in 2022.
● The UI undergraduate enrollment increased 1.7 percent in 2022, from 21,609 students in 2021 to 21,973 students in 2022

The UI reported an increase in out-of-state students for the fourth straight year, with 11,249 out-of-state students in 2022, a 5.7 percent increase from 2021.

For first-year enrollment, the UI had the highest increase of the regent universities, with a 14.5 percent increase from 2021 with 5,178 first-year students. ISU saw a 6.3 percent increase in first-year student enrollment whereas UNI saw a 7.6 percent decline.

The overall decline in Chinese student enrollment specifically contributed to a drop in the international student population, according to the report. The Chinese student population dropped for the seventh year at all regent universities with 361 fewer students since fall 2021.

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The UI declined in graduate and professional student enrollment for the first time in six years, with a 3.1 percent decline from 8,301 students in 2021 to 8,042 in 2022.

According to the report, enrollment at Iowa’s public universities dropped by 916 students, or 1.3 percent, from the fall of 2021 to the fall of 2022.

Despite the decline in student enrollment at the regent universities, each university has reported a continuous increase in student diversity on campus:

● 7.1 percent of students identify as Hispanic or Latinx, making it the largest and fastest-growing racial/ethnic minority at all regent institutions.
● 4.2 percent of students identify as Asian at all regent institutions.
● 3 percent of students identify as two or more races at all regent institutions.
● 2.9 percent identify as Black or African American at all regent institutions.

“Fall 2022 established the highest percentage on record (17.4 percent) of racial/ethnic minority students enrolled at the three public universities,” the report stated.

The report will be presented to the regents at its Nov. 10 meeting at the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa.