ISU enrollment is a record 36,660

Students walking on campus.

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Iowa State's enrollment continues to flourish. The university's official fall 2016 enrollment of 36,660 is the largest in school history, an increase of nearly 1.9 percent (659) over the previous record of 36,001 in fall 2015.

"As we work to create a more diverse and inclusive campus, Iowa State is proud to remain the top choice for more Iowa students than any other school in the world, as well as record numbers of non-resident, U.S. multicultural and international students," said President Steven Leath. "Now marking our eighth consecutive year of record enrollment, we are pleased to see more moderate growth this fall. True to our land-grant mission, Iowa State is accessible and affordable; but with lagging state funding, we want to be sure we are growing at a pace that allows us to maintain high quality."

In the last decade, overall enrollment at Iowa State has grown by 11,198 students, or 44 percent. The student body represents every Iowa county, every U.S. state and 121* countries.

This fall, 20,713 Iowans are attending Iowa State. They equal 56.5 percent of the student body. The vast majority (18,957) are undergraduates.

Overall, nearly 95 percent of Iowa State graduates are either employed or pursuing further education within six months of graduation.

Iowa State’s freshman class of 6,325 students, a record, includes 3,380 Iowans.  

Iowa State's first-year, full-time student retention rate increased to 87.6 percent, well above the national average and just under ISU's record of 87.7 percent set in fall 2011. The average ACT score for new freshmen also has increased the last three years, to 25.17 in fall 2016.

By the numbers

Iowa State's student numbers set records in the following categories this fall:

  • Record undergraduate enrollment of 30,671, an increase of 637 students from last fall's record of 30,034.
  • Record graduate enrollment of 5,096 – exactly the same number as last fall.
  • Record international student enrollment of 4,131, an increase of 90 students from last fall's record of 4,041.
  • Record diversity. Total U.S. multicultural and international enrollment is 8,748, or 23.9 percent of the student body.
  • U.S. multicultural enrollment is 4,617 (12.6 percent of total enrollment), a new record and an increase over last fall's 4,326 students.
  • Record U.S. multicultural enrollment among new freshmen: 946 students, up from last year's record of 888. Multicultural students represent 15 percent of new freshmen at Iowa State.
  • Record total U.S. nonresident enrollment of 11,509, up 900 students from last year's record of 10,609 students.
  • Record U.S. nonresident undergraduate enrollment of 9,510, up 899 students from last year's record of 8,611.
  • Record U.S. nonresident new freshman enrollment of 2,611, up 242 students from last year's record of 2,369 students.


Fall 2016 enrollment by college

Agriculture and Life Sciences: 5,395

Business: 4,772

Design: 1,991

Engineering: 9,645

Human Sciences: 4,871

Liberal Arts and Sciences: 8,526

Veterinary Medicine: 749

Interdepartmental Units and Graduate Undeclared: 404

Post-docs: 307



* Update: The number was initially reported as 125 countries; it is actually 121.