Fall enrollment is nearly 35,000

Students walk on central campus sidewalks

Iowa State's 34,992 students represent all 99 Iowa counties, all 50 U.S. states and 126 countries. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Iowa State's fall 2018 enrollment is a robust 34,992, the fourth-largest in school history. Of that number, 29,621 are undergraduates -- the largest number enrolled at any Iowa college or university.

The fall 2018 total reflects, for the first time, a new counting methodology adopted by the state Board of Regents. Enrollment no longer includes 351 postdocs, 32 students enrolled in the intensive English and orientation program and approximately 60 students enrolled in the summer trial program, who were counted in previous years.

Infographic of enrollment stats

Class of 2022: Ready for academic rigor

Iowa State welcomed 6,047 new freshmen -- 103 more than last fall -- and they have the highest-ever average high school GPA for an incoming Iowa State class: 3.64. More than a quarter of them (26.5 percent) ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and their average ACT score was 25.1.

"I'm delighted to introduce such a highly qualified class to the exceptional student experience, teaching and research that we offer at Iowa State," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "I know they will thrive, learn and grow in ways that will change our world for the better."

Nearly one-fourth of Iowa State freshmen (1,449, or 24 percent) are first-generation college students.

More Iowans attend Iowa State than any other school

In both the freshman class (3,362 Iowans) and in the overall fall 2018 enrollment (19,022 Iowans), more than half (55 percent) of Iowa State students are in-state residents. Among undergraduates, 59.2 percent are Iowa residents.

From where they come

Of ISU's 12,279 out-of-state students, a record 10,289 are undergraduates, up 260 from last fall.

Iowa State's student body represents all 99 Iowa counties and all 50 U.S. states (plus Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands and Mariana Islands), as well as 126 countries.

"Growth in students from Puerto Rico was exceptional, with an increase of 24 percent in new freshmen," noted admissions director Katharine Johnson Suski. "We are pleased to support these students following the devastation from Hurricane Maria last year."

International enrollment is 3,691, down 424 students from 2017.

Record diversity

Total U.S. multicultural and international enrollment at Iowa State is 8,554, or 24.5 percent of the student body -- a new record.

U.S. multicultural enrollment is a record 4,863, up 189 from last year's total of 4,674. Undergraduate U.S. multicultural enrollment also is a record -- 4,340, up 169 from last year's total of 4,171. Freshman U.S. multicultural enrollment, another record, is 972, up 78 students from last year's total of 894.

Veterinary medicine

Professional (doctor of veterinary medicine) enrollment is at maximum capacity: 597 students.

In comparison

Iowa State enrollment has plateaued the last two years following a decade of growth and eight consecutive years of record enrollment. This fall's total represents 2.8 percent fewer students than the 35,993 enrolled at Iowa State in fall 2017. The number also reflects national enrollment trends, a decline in international enrollment, record graduation rates and smaller incoming classes replacing large graduating classes. Iowa State awarded a record 8,356 degrees in 2017-18.

Fall 2018 enrollment by college

Agriculture and Life Sciences








Human Sciences


Liberal Arts and Sciences


Veterinary Medicine*


Interdepartmental units and graduate undeclared




*Breakout: 597 DVM, 165 graduate

Planning could begin on scaled-back veterinary lab

When the state Board of Regents meets next week in Iowa City, Iowa State leaders will seek permission to begin planning for a $75 million Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), an estimated 83,000- to 88,000-square-foot new building on the Veterinary Medicine campus.

The 2018 Legislature committed $63.5 million in state support to the project over six years, beginning with $1 million for project planning in the current year. Last fall, Iowa State requested $100 million in state support for a proposed $124 million lab.

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said $75 million is the sum of the state commitment, available university funds and estimated private gifts. He said this year's planning will include an assessment of whether $75 million is adequate to address all the needs in a 2014 VDL study -- such as efficient processing of cases, biosafety and biosecurity requirements and the ability to quickly identify emerging diseases before they become widespread. Planning could consider other options -- such as VDL units for which biocontainment isn't critical remaining in the current lab space.

"Iowa State operates the only full-service and fully accredited veterinary diagnostic lab in the state," Wickert said. "It's critical to the state's $32.5 billion animal agriculture industry that we maintain and improve this service."

The VDL is housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine building, which opened in 1976. Except for a specialized biosecurity addition in 2004, the overall footprint of the lab hasn't substantially expanded or been updated since its construction. The volume of diagnostic services, research and teaching has increased dramatically since then, as has the people providing it: from 10 faculty and 20 staff in 1976 to 25 faculty and 120 technical staff last year. They processed more than 86,000 diagnostic case submissions for livestock producers in fiscal year 2017.

Both the board's property and facilities committee and the full board will review the planning request next week.

The agenda for the Sept. 12-13 meeting is online. Audio of public portions of the meeting will be livestreamed on the board's website.

Upgrade for southeast rec fields

Included in the September consent agenda for final board approval are two ISU construction projects:

  • Recreation services' plan to invest $10 million in its recreation fields east of Jack Trice Stadium. The plan reconfigures and renovates about 40 acres on the east side of University Boulevard, and adds an irrigation system, lights and restrooms. Six softball fields, eight sand volleyball courts and about a dozen soccer/football fields would be laid out north and south of a 650 parking spots (grass and gravel) and a service building. Student fees will pay for the improvements but won't go up because of them. Site work could begin in the spring, with the complex ready for use in fall 2020.
  • A steam line replacement at the Iowa State Center that services all four buildings. Iowa State's utility repair fund would cover the estimated $4.2 million cost.

FY2020 state funding requests

Requests for state support for the fiscal year that begins next July 1 are due to the state on Oct. 1. The regents will consider these FY2020 ISU requests:

  • A 4 percent increase ($7 million) to the general university operating budget, designated for student financial aid (in the absence of state financial aid designated for regent university students).
  • Flat funding for Iowa State's direct appropriation units such as the Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • Flat economic development funding.
  • A 10 percent increase ($410,000) to operating support for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
  • $10 million (appropriation or academic building revenue bonds) for design and early construction at Parks Library. An estimated $28 million proposal would renovate 44,000 square feet of stacks space on the library's second and third floors for a student learning hub, adding an estimated 600 seats, technology-equipped group collaboration spaces and open lab/classrooms. As proposed, additional funds would be $16 million from the state in FY21 and $2 million private gifts or other funds.
  • $1.43 million for infrastructure upgrades for Iowa Public Radio, $830,000 of which would fund the replacement of WOI FM's 20-year-old antenna, transmission line, transmitter and studio-to-transmitter link.

Adding academic programs, closing centers

Iowa State also will begin the regent-level process of:

  • Adding a bachelor of science degree in cyber security engineering in the electrical and computer engineering department, College of Engineering. The degree program will give students the technical skills to work in government or industry cybersecurity positions. The proposed start date is August 2019.
  • Adding a doctor of education degree (Ed.D.) in the School of Education. In three years, the degree prepares students for leadership posts in school districts, community colleges, state departments of education, area education agencies and other education agencies. The proposed implementation date is January 2019.
  • Reorganizing the supply chain and information systems department in the Ivy College of Business to two departments: supply chain management, and information systems and business analytics. The growing academic disciplines each has sufficient students and faculty to warrant separating them, which will strengthen and give clarity to each. The proposed effective date is July 1, 2019.
  • Closing five centers: Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Ag Products (some activities absorbed by the Seed Science Center), Center for Carbon Capturing of Crops (activities ceased), Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies (functions folded into the Bioeconomy Institute in 2014), Midwest Forensics Resource Center (mission absorbed in 2015 by the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Science), and Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (activities managed by the department of food science and human nutrition). The closures would be effective upon final regents approval in November.

Tearoom updates include expanded menu

Students prepare food in the tearoom kitchen.

Changes to MacKay Hall's tearoom will improve the experience for the learning laboratory's diners and students. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom

  • 23 MacKay Hall, 294-3330
  • Lunch service: 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
  • Menus
  • Reservations

When MacKay Hall's Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom reopens Sept. 11, things will look and function a bit differently. The nonprofit learning laboratory operated by the department of apparel, events and hospitality management (AESHM) updated its physical space and student learning experience.

Katie Ginapp, lecturer in AESHM and co-instructor in the lab, said changes to the program and the space will benefit students in the Quantity Food Production and Service Management Experience course (HSP M 380) who plan, prepare and serve the tearoom's from-scratch menu items.

"We're looking to give the tearoom a fresh face and provide the students with a more real-world experience," Ginapp said. "We wanted to match it up with the technology and service they'd be using right now if they were working in the industry -- just to make them more prepared."

Expanded menu, hours

Guests no longer have to linger in the hallway when arriving before their 11:50 a.m. reservations. The doors to 23 MacKay now will open at 11:30 a.m. for the lunch crowd. Lunch is offered 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday while class is in session for the fall and spring semesters. The tearoom will offer dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays (5:30-6:30 p.m.) during the spring semester.

Menu notifications

Sign up for daily emails of available menu items (294-3330, tearoom@iastate.edu).

The menu may be the biggest change for longtime tearoom visitors. Instead of one lineup, the menu includes a weekly meal special ($7.25), made-to-order grilled items (chicken sandwich, burger and panini) with sides ($6.50-$6.95), salads/wraps ($6.50-$8.50) and a la carte soups ($3.50-$4.75) and desserts ($1.50-$2.75). The tearoom's most popular and highest-rated items are featured as weekly desserts and specials. Each menu will run for a week, with a six-menu rotation planned for the fall semester.

"It allowed us to restructure our class rotation a little bit," Ginapp said. "With students doing the same tasks and repeating them more often, hopefully we'll be able to improve the overall quality and service of the tearoom."

The opening week menu features pizza primavera with a side salad as the weeklong special. Diners also can choose a traditional burger, grilled chicken sandwich or caprese panini -- each with a side dish -- or a main course serving of the tearoom's Ceasar or house salads. The week's featured soup is tomato basil bisque. Dessert options include cookies and cheesecake.

Renovated lobby of the tearoom.

Renovation work on the tearoom lobby is wrapping up.

Other upgrades

Equipment upgrades were added back-of-house, similar to what students will see in full-service kitchens. Cosmetic updates include a remodeled front entry with improved lighting and seating in a waiting area. New chairs, linens and video monitors freshen up the dining room, which Ginapp said can be used for more than just meals.

"We can use it as a meeting space when we're not having class," Ginapp said.

The reservation system is now online, using the OpenTable application. Guests using credit or debit cards can pay tableside with handheld devices, while diners using cash or check will pay at the register. Payment with CyCash (via ISU Card) will be enabled later this semester.

Get it to go

Menu items are available to go in 16 MacKay, the laboratory's kitchen entrance. To-go orders can be preordered by phone (294-3330) or placed on a walk-in basis during tearoom hours. An online ordering system is being developed.

"We're all really excited to finally see these changes," Ginapp said. "It's hard to imagine how it's going to work until you get all of the pieces in the puzzle coming together."

Fanfare will trumpet in Wintersteen era

Installation performances

  • Simon Estes
  • Iowa State Singers
  • ISU Wind Ensemble

A personalized musical composition will debut at the Sept. 21 presidential installation of Wendy Wintersteen. Michael Golemo, professor of music and director of bands, composed "To Serve" to honor the 16th president in Iowa State's 160-year history.

Golemo said the composition intertwines Wintersteen's diverse musical taste -- from classic works by composer Aaron Copland to a new-age style -- with a "bold, optimistic and colorful" theme. Its title was inspired by, of all things, a license plate.

"I learned that Dr. Wintersteen's personalized license plate reads, 'To Serve,' and decided this would be an excellent title for this composition in her honor," Golemo said.

Golemo, who also composed "A Cyclone Fanfare" for Steven Leath's 2012 installation, has hundreds of instrumental arrangements and compositions to his credit. He said "To Serve" opens with a traditional fanfare, then adds a new-age theme "layered on top" with individual instrumentation.

"There are a lot of opportunities for people to have their own voices, with one overriding theme to bring it all together," he said.

The composition will be performed by the ISU Wind Ensemble -- a 64-member concert band of wind, brass and percussion student musicians under Golemo's direction. The four-minute fanfare precedes the ensemble's performance of "Toreador Song" with bass-baritone and artist-in-residence Simon Estes.