Another year, another record-breaking student enrollment. And now, a historic fundraising campaign, changes all across campus, and a new strategic plan.Welcome to Iowa State University in 2017.
Where we are; where we’re headed
Maintaining quality amid growth. That’s one of President Steven Leath’s top goals for this academic year.
It’s a tall order, given the fact that student enrollment has grown 44 percent in the past decade (to last fall’s high-water mark of 36,660) but state funding has continued to decline.
In 2008, Iowa State received about $12,700 in state funding per resident student. At that time, nearly 50 percent of the university’s operating revenue came from the state; the other 50 percent came from tuition and fees. Today, ISU receives about $9,400 from the state per resident student, shifting the budget revenue ratio to approximately 30 percent from the state and 70 percent from tuition and fees.
Meanwhile, the Regents have held the line on resident undergraduate tuition, freezing or making only minimal increases over the last five years.
“We’ve been unable to make meaningful improvements in our national ranking and our student-to-faculty ratio because of the tremendous growth we’ve seen,” despite hiring more than 400 new faculty over the past five years, Leath said during his annual address last fall.
But progress is being shown in a number of areas:
- Iowa State continues to offer the lowest tuition and fees of its peer institutions, and student debt has declined 8.5 percent, due in part to Leath’s Moving Students Forward campaign to raise $150 million in private gifts for student financial aid over five years. That campaign has now raised nearly $190 million, and so far more than 23,000 students have received support from the fund.
- A number of facilities to enhance academics and student life have opened in the past few years, and more are in the works, including two biosciences facilities, improved classroom spaces, new residence halls and apartment communities, and a cutting-edge student innovation facility.
- Iowa State is becoming a more inclusive community. With the hiring of Reginald Stewart as the university’s first vice president for diversity and inclusion, Leath says he believes Iowa State can become a model of diversity. Last fall the university hired project directors for diversity and inclusion in LGBTQA+ Affairs and in Hispanic/Latinx Affairs and will soon create a new position to oversee sexual misconduct prevention.
- The ISU Research Park continues to expand, and the new Economic Development Core Facility that opened last summer will greatly enhance the positive impact the university will have on the state’s economy.
- A new strategic plan was rolled out last summer, with four key objectives to take Iowa State well into the next decade.
- An administrative team that features familiar faces, as well as key leaders new to campus, has been put in place.
- The ISU Foundation announced in September the launch of Forever True, For
Iowa State, a landmark initiative to raise $1.1 billion for the university, the largest goal ever for an Iowa State comprehensive campaign.
Forever True: Iowa State launches historic $1.1 billion campaign
On Sept. 30, Iowa State University announced the launch of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, a historic initiative to raise $1.1 billion for the university by June 30, 2020. The goal is the largest ever for an Iowa State comprehensive campaign.
With a name inspired by the Iowa State Fight Song, the campaign will rally support for scholarships, faculty support, facilities, and programs. It will help ensure access to an exceptional education, advance Iowa State expertise in key areas that address global challenges, and enhance the university’s impact on the economy and quality of life in Iowa and around the world.
“I invite everyone whose lives have been touched by Iowa State to consider what it means to be Forever True to this university,” said Jon Fleming (L)(’75 meteorology). “With the help of our extended Iowa State family, I know we can make this the most transformative campaign in Cyclone history.” Fleming serves as campaign chair and is a former Alumni Association Board of Directors chair.
Larissa Holtmyer Jones (L)(’91 marketing, MBA ’03), president and CEO of the ISU Foundation, announced that since the campaign began its quiet phase in 2012 more than $551 million has already been raised. “This goal stretches us,” she said, “but there is so much to be gained in meeting it for our students’ and for our children’s futures.”
For more information, visit forevertrueisu.com. To learn about the Iowa State University Alumni Association funding priorities within this historic campaign, visit the ISU Alumni Association’s website.
By the numbers
Iowa State’s fall 2016 enrollment…and other fun facts
- 36,660: Iowa State’s total student enrollment for fall 2016
- 44: The percentage of student population growth in the past decade
- 20,713: The number of Iowans attending Iowa State
- 23.9: The percentage of U.S. multicultural and international students enrolled
- 64: The percentage of Iowa State classes that have 29 or fewer students
- 2 million+: The number of visitors to the Iowa State Library last year
- 65: The number of new student organizations added last year, for a total of 850+ organizations on campus
- 5: The number of wireless devices, on average, that students bring with them to campus. Iowa State has installed 9,300 wireless access points to accommodate all that digital traffic.
The class of 2020
A look at Iowa State’s fall 2016 entering freshmen
- Total freshman class: 6,325
- Total Iowans: 3,380
- U.S. multicultural enrollment: 946 (15% of new freshmen)
10 years of enrollment growth
This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.