Students come to Iowa State for opportunities, community

Enrollment photo Curtiss Hall

Students exit Curtiss Hall as classes release on the first day of fall classes. (Larger imagePhotos by Christopher Gannon

AMES, Iowa – Oscar Gutierrez debated taking a gap year after graduating from high school, but after coming to campus for summer orientation, the first-year student from Perry says he knew he belonged at Iowa State University. 

Oscar Gutierrez portrait

Oscar Gutierrez, first-year student in the Ivy College of Business (Larger image).

Gutierrez, a first-generation student in the Ivy College of Business, says earning a scholarship through the Multicultural Vision Program (MVP) solidified his decision. MVP is one of several programs and scholarships Iowa State offers to support first-generation students (see sidebar for more detail). Gutierrez says his first semester is off to a great start.

“Classes are great, the people in my classes make it even better and I meet someone new every day, so I don’t have trouble making new friends,” Gutierrez said. “Receiving the MVP scholarship is an opportunity that made the move to Iowa State a lot easier.”

This fall, Gutierrez joins a class of 5,728 new first-year students with an average grade point average of 3.71. Iowa State also welcomes 1,383 new transfer students, an increase over last year, and 1,195 new graduate and professional students. Enrollment of new resident, non-resident and international undergraduate students have each increased over last year.

“The increasing number of first-year and transfer students is a testament to the value of an Iowa State degree distinguished by our culture of science, technology, innovation and hands-on learning,” said President Wendy Wintersteen. “We’re graduating students faster than ever before and with less debt – 43% graduate debt-free – ready to make an immediate impact in their career.”

Enrollment at 29,969, increases in first-year students

Iowa State’s total fall enrollment of 29,969, down 739 from the previous year, includes 25,241 undergraduate, 4,094 graduate and 634 veterinary medicine students, and students from all 99 counties, all 50 states and 114 countries. While overall enrollment is down, first-year students increased 6.3% over last year, and 13% over two years.

Laura Doering, associate vice president for enrollment management, says the growth in first-year students reflects the interest in the many opportunities Iowa State offers.   

“Students come to Iowa State for the opportunity to study and earn a degree in a diverse set of majors, including new programs in climate science, health care management and artificial intelligence,” Doering said. “And some 59% of Iowa State students are majoring in science and technology disciplines.”

Iowa State’s four-year graduation rate of 56.3% is 15 points higher than the national average, and the average time for students to earn a bachelor’s degree has decreased to 4.18 years. More than 10% of students graduate within 3.5 years, taking advantage of credits earned in high school to make their college education even more affordable.

Fall 2022 enrollment by college (undergraduate and graduate)

Agriculture and Life Sciences 4,309

Business 4,707

Design 1,964

Engineering 7,591

Human Sciences 3,515

Liberal Arts and Science 6,847

Veterinary Medicine 791 (professional and graduate)

Interdepartmental units and graduate undeclared 245