College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Engineering enrollment exceeds 5,000

With 5,086 undergraduates majoring in engineering this fall, the Iowa State University College of Engineering has achieved a 25-year high in enrollment. The increase is 410 more students than last fall.

The college, which is routinely among the top 10 in the nation for undergraduate enrollment, has averaged more than 4,600 students per year since 1998. Enrollment has exceeded 5,000 students just three other years—1982–1984.

The biggest increases for 2009 are for resident freshmen (45) and resident transfers (39) followed by foreign transfers (36) and nonresident freshmen (29). The enrollment figures also show positive trends in gender and ethnic diversity. The number of females is 755, up from 681 in 2008. The number of underrepresented students is up 79 from last year and represents 8.6% of the engineering student body.

The ability to attract large numbers of students can be credited to strong programs and reputation as well as a concerted effort to recruit students, according to Diane Rover, associate dean for academic and student affairs.

Some notable facts about the college include:
•    12 undergraduate degree programs
•    Tied for 22nd among public universities’ undergraduate engineering programs in U.S.News and World Report ranking
•    92% job placement/military/graduate school (6 months after graduation)
•    84% of students graduate with engineering work experience
•    Fall career fair is largest indoor engineering career fair in the country
•    More than 84% of first-year students participate in learning communities
•    More than 30 international university partnerships in 15 countries on 6 continents
•    21% of engineering graduates have an international study or work abroad experience

With the number of Iowa high school students declining and a growing demand for engineers who can help solve the critical challenges the world will face in the coming decades, the college is focused on recruitment.

“It is a team effort,” says Rover. “In addition to the work done by the admissions office, we have our college student services staff, planning events like Senior Visitation Day. Just this week, over 190 high school seniors were on campus to learn about our programs. Current engineering students play a key role talking to prospective students and their parents about what it’s like to be an engineering student and about the many opportunities available to them. Our faculty and academic advisors also take a personal interest in students, with a goal of helping each student find the right major and experiences they need to achieve their career goals.”

In 2007, a new program was initiated to reach out to students across the state and facilitate the process for students transferring from community colleges to Iowa State’s College of Engineering. The Student Enrollment and Engagement through Connections (SEEC) project is a collaborative effort with Des Moines Area Community College funded by the National Science Foundation. The goal is to increase the number of Iowa State engineering graduates by approximately 120 each year.

Thanks to a connection formed between the SEEC project and Iowa State Extension, the Engineering Talent in Every County (E-TEC) program is underway. With the goal of raising public awareness and understanding of engineering, E-TEC scholarships were offered for the first time this year. Fifty-four incoming engineering students from 28 counties were chosen to receive a one-time $500 merit-based scholarship. Ultimately the project’s goal is to attract students to engineering from each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

For more information about engineering majors and opportunities, please visit