Iowa State shows record multicultural student enrollment this fall

Iowa State has record enrollment of 4,924 multicultural students, all of whom make up 15.5 percent of total enrollment.

Iowa State has record enrollment of 4,924 multicultural students, all of whom make up 15.5 percent of total enrollment.

Eleanor Chalstrom

Fall 2020 shows the highest percentage of multicultural students at Iowa State in history.

“U.S. multicultural enrollment is a record 4,924 (15.5 percent of total enrollment),” the Office of the Registrar reported.

The total enrollment of this semester is 31,825 students. Within that number is 26,846 undergraduate students, 4,352 graduate students and 627 professional students. Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment numbers have not depleted as heavily like some expected. The total enrollment of 2020 is down by 1,566 students from fall 2019.

The Office of the Registrar considers multicultural students as “Black or African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Hispanic or Latino of Any Race, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander [or] Two or More Races.”

International students are not included in the multicultural statistics. The Office of the Registrar recognizes multicultural students as U.S. citizens, immigrants and refugees only.

The percentages of total multicultural students during fall semesters have fluctuated slightly over the past five years. According to the Office of Institutional Research at Iowa State, in 2015, the total percentage of multicultural students was 11.9 percent, 2016 was 12.7 percent, 2017 was 13 percent, 2018 was 14 percent and 2019 was 14.6 percent.

All statistics account for how many students are enrolled in classes, whether they are virtual, hybrid or face to face.

Michael Jackson, a graduate student in education, works in the vice president’s office of diversity, equity and inclusion as the equity and inclusion services coordinator and Pan-African initiatives.

“From my perspective, Iowa State University’s articulation of multiculturalism means that it values the perspectives of individuals from various backgrounds, experiences and facts of cultures,” Jackson wrote in an email.

Jackson said he was not surprised at the number of multicultural students on campus because the community embraces diversity on campus.

Iowa State offers programs and resources for communities that center around diversity and multiculturalism. The Inclusive Action Commissions, the Latino Affairs Steering Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council assist students in navigating diversity and inclusion on campus.