Fall 2016 facts

Students pass by the steps of Beardshear Hall

A new academic year begins Monday, Aug. 22. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

On the eve of a new academic year, university relations staff compiled an overview of who's coming to study, as well as some of the campus improvements since last fall that will improve the student experience.

Students and faculty

  • Total fall enrollment could exceed 36,500 students. This marks the eighth year of record enrollment and 10th consecutive year of growth (enrollment numbers will be available in early September after the official count is taken)
  • 64 percent of Iowa State classes have 29 or fewer students
  • 5,858 entering students attended orientation in June to help with their transition to college life
  • More than 70 percent of direct-from-high school students are expected to participate in a learning community this fall
  • 34 students is the mean class section size
  • 88 percent of student credit hours are taught by faculty
  • About 70 new tenured or tenure-track faculty will join Iowa State this fall, contributing to a record number of total faculty on campus
  • 4,791 undergraduate class sections are scheduled for fall 2016, an increase of 58 from fall 2015; 125 from fall 2014; and 391 from 2013

Residence department

  • More than 12,000 students are living in university- owned or managed housing this fall; an exact number will not be available until early September
  • 100 percent of all new direct-from-high-school and new transfer students who requested university housing have been accommodated
  • 1,450 leased beds (1,151 at the Iowa State West Apartments and 299 in Legacy Tower)
  • 784 permanent residence hall beds will be added in January 2017 with the opening of the new Buchanan II building
  • No students are living in temporary housing
  • The department of residence continues to accept housing contracts

Learning spaces

  • A new Parks Library classroom is part of the university classroom inventory mix from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week; at other times the library schedules workshops in it
  • The network of online testing centers, which administer an estimated 76,000 tests throughout a semester, added locations and seats. It also added weekends and hours to its finals week options. About 200 computers located in three testing centers expands to about 400 in six locations during finals.
  • Work underway this fall will open a dozen state-of-the-art classrooms in three buildings -- Bessey, Hamilton and Pearson -- next fall.
  • A partnership coordinated by facilities planning and management and funded by campus units put 400 hallway benches in 24 buildings with high classroom counts to give students a place to sit while they prepare for class or exams. Designed by employees and manufactured at Iowa Prison Industries, the benches feature recycled cypress and oak wood from campus.

Safety and inclusion

  • Anyone concerned about walking on campus at night can summon a free lift through the new SafeRide ISU program. The Uber-like service includes a smart phone app.
  • New policy requires body cameras for ISU police officers
  • ISU Police added officers to its multicultural liaison program
  • Pammel Drive was restriped (from four lanes down to two) with the intent of improving pedestrian safety
  • A new vice president for diversity and inclusion will hire two more staffers this fall: project directors in LGBTQA+ affairs and Hispanic/Latino affairs
  • Senior vice president for student affairs added service positions: director posts in student wellness and research/assessment

University library

  • The library remained open 24 hours during spring semester's dead week and finals week, a pilot program that will continue into the 2016-17 academic year
  • Information technology services' solution center and equipment checkout services relocated to the library
  • An anticipated 2 million-plus visitors will use the library this year

Student activities

  • 65 new student organizations were added last year; a total of 850+ orgs and 4,600+ student leaders
  • Participation increased last year in student organization events (23 percent), ISU AfterDark events (11 percent), Workspace activities (23 percent) and Browsing Library use (67 percent)

Recreation services

  • Outdoor recreational spaces and indoor amenities were connected with a pedestrian bridge across College Creek (between the Maple Willow Larch fields and Lied Center)
  • More than 28,000 students used the rec facilities last year
  • The rec facilities serve an average of 3,175 individuals per day, including weekends
  • The busiest time in the facilities is 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Intramural sports clubs hosted more than 100 competitions and traveled to 234 events last year


  • CyRide notched a record 6.7 million rides last year, topping the previous year's ridership by 73,814 rides
  • The CyRide fleet has grown to 97 buses -- six articulated, 83 standard and eight mini buses
  • CyRide officials will take a long look at route structures and schedules this year to see if there are more efficient ways to move people around campus and town. Lots of public input will be sought.


  • Students, on average, will bring five electronic devices with them to campus. Poised to answer the call of the Wi-Fied are 9,300 wireless access points, about 43 percent of which are new and improved
  • Some 35,000 unique wireless connections occur daily on campus