College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Enrollment trends upward

The College of Engineering is one of two Iowa State colleges that expects an enrollment increase for first-year and transfer students for fall of 2009, according to Joel Johnson, director of engineering student programs and services. July projections for the incoming class range from 1,510 to 1,540 students compared to 1,418 who enrolled in fall of 2008.
The ethnic and gender admissions reports are also positive, showing increases of 52 ethnic minority and 19 female students who had accepted admission as of July 1.

The most accurate predictions are for resident and nonresident first-year students, says Mary Goodwin, director of undergraduate advising. Noting that about 99% of those who attend the summer orientation program, which ended June 29, enroll in the fall, she estimates the number of resident first-year students will be up by about 13 and nonresidents by 30.

The college had 11 orientation sessions. Cyclone Aides, who are undergraduate student leaders selected to facilitate new student programs throughout the year, helped guide the students through the two-day program. It includes everything from college tours to signing up for e-mail to registering for fall classes. Seven of the Cyclone Aides are engineering majors, and through their interactions with the incoming students and their parents, they provide a firsthand perspective on what it is like to be engineering students.

The projected enrollments for foreign first-year students as well as resident, nonresident, and foreign transfer numbers are also up; however, the percentages of those who will enroll in the fall are more variable than for resident and nonresident first-year students. “These numbers have been trending upward for several years,” says Goodwin. “I thought perhaps the economy would have a negative impact, but from the numbers we have now, it looks like we could have an increase of as many as 50 foreign first-year and transfer students next fall.”

Transfer students are also an important part of the enrollment picture. The June admissions report showed an increase of 20 transfers, and Goodwin expects that number to reach 30 by August. Iowa State’s Admissions Partnership Program (APP) with Iowa community colleges is designed to facilitate the transfer process. More than 80 students are enrolled in engineering in the APP program, which has just completed its first full year.

With the number of Iowa high school students projected to continue declining through 2017, recruitment of nonresident, transfer, and international students, combined with maintaining existing strong retention rates, is key to managing enrollment in the college, according to Johnson.

The college also has two new degree programs that are attracting students, Johnson says. The software engineering and the biological systems engineering programs are illustrating positive gains. Johnson expects numbers to continue to increase as students learn about the programs.