Record-breaking enrollment estimated for spring semester

Eric Wirth

While official numbers won’t be released until Jan. 27, Iowa State is amidst another semester of an enrollment boom, even with a loss of students returning for the second semester. 

“We will have record enrollment this spring,” said Laura Doering, the university registrar, referring to spring semesters only.

While spring enrollment may be record breaking, the number of students physically on campus is suspected to be lower than this previous fall, which is nothing new. In 2013, there were 33,241 students enrolled during fall, while only 31,296 were enrolled in the spring of 2014.

Doering speculates that the spring enrollment decline is due to many different factors. Between graduations, transfers and students who choose not to return along with a lower number of new students enrolling in the spring as compared to the fall, the net loss of students is not surprising.

Iowa State has many programs aimed at student retention, all of which aim to combat the section of students who leave the university for reasons other than graduation.

Between the Student Success Council, the new Student Loan Education Office and numerous other programs, Iowa State is consistently trying to get students to stay and complete their degrees by helping them conquer whatever type of challenge they are faced with.

Fall to spring enrollment decline isn’t completely negative. The decline in enrollment means an alleviation of the stress put on the university’s housing system. Peter Englin, the director of the department of residence, said that the decline in demand for housing in the spring semester usually allows for 700 to 1,100 newly open beds on campus.

“[It] makes it nicer in the spring semester,” Englin said.

Should the numbers this year be anything like the previous academic year, Iowa State could see nearly 2,000 fewer students on campus. While this number is not extremely large, it will make a difference.

“It’s not dramatic, but it is significant,” said Englin.

The small decrease in student population probably won’t last though. Katharine Suski, the director of admissions, said the number of applications for the fall of 2015 currently seen by the admissions office is already higher than the number seen for fall of 2014 at the same time last year.

“15,851 freshman applications have been received,” Suski said. “These numbers represent an increase of 2.9 percent in applications over this time in the Fall 2014 cycle.”

Should numbers like this hold, Iowa State may be looking at record-breaking enrollment not only this spring, but also next fall.