UNI’s enrollment decreases

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UNI’s enrollment decreases

Enrollment at UNI declined by 695 students this year compared to last.

Enrollment at UNI declined by 695 students this year compared to last.

PEXELS

Enrollment at UNI declined by 695 students this year compared to last.

PEXELS

PEXELS

Enrollment at UNI declined by 695 students this year compared to last.

AMELIA DUAX, Staff Writer

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The University of Northern Iowa has seen a decrease in enrollment this fall. Last year, UNI had 11,907 students. That number dropped to 11,212 in 2018. UNI is hardly alone, as the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have also experianced declining enrollment.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Matt Kroeger was able to give some insight as to why enrollment is down and what the university intends on doing to get the numbers back up.

“The freshman class was smaller this year than what it has been before, say in Fall 2015 and 2016, and hit about a peak of nearly 2,000 freshman about a year ago,” said Kroeger. “But that’s been going down a little bit the last couple of years, and that of course has an impact not just on the number of new students, but then how many of those students are with us the next four to five years,” said Kroeger.

According to Kroeger, UNI is very concerned about the decline in enrollment.

There are numerous factors contributing to the decline, such as the competition to get students directly out of high school.

“There are many institutions that are offering very steep discounts in scholarships or differential tuition rates to try and lure students either to their institution or in the case of some, to lure them out of the state of Iowa and to go off to other states.”

“We see that on pretty much all sides of us. There’s also quite a bit of competition not just in higher education institutions but also in the work force,” said Kroeger.

Kroeger said that the option of working straight out of high school can be very tempting to many students. For students who are unsure of what they want to do as a career, community colleges are attractive options. Another option that has been a factor in the declining enrollment numbers in Iowa colleges is dual-enrollment courses in high school.

“A lot of people here at the institution and the administration feel really confident about what the UNI experience is and what it can offer students too. There’s excellent academic programs, and when you look at tuition and affordability, we offer an excellent experience for what the investment price is for students,” said Kroeger. “Making sure that enough of the students that have a potential interest in going to college and that are looking for a college that will suit their needs, and if what they’re looking for is something that UNI offers, then we need to be very vigilant in making sure that they know we want them at UNI,” said Kroeger.

UNI has a few initiatives set up across the campus to start increasing the number of students that are enrolling at UNI. According to Kroeger, the university is attempting to better track students throughout the college cycle from the moment they express interest in UNI, up to when they submit their application for admission. We’re implementing a new CRM, or Constituent Relationship Management system, which is one very big initiative that will have benefits across the entire campus for students, faculty, and staff,” said Kroeger.

“We are also being more proactive in our partnership with the UNI Center for Urban Education which is called the Panther-Promise Program. This brings students to see the UNI campus and largely these are students that might not have been looking at UNI or considering college, but they are ones that their counselors have identified as being college material…I want to say that this year we are expecting to welcome somewhere between 2 and 3,000 high school juniors and seniors across the campus,” said Kroeger.

David Konfrst, Public Relations Director of Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG), also gave information on how the university is planning on bringing in more students to campus in the future. Konfrst noted UNI President Nook’s state of the university address earlier this year where he outlined the methods that would be used to gain more student enrollment, and that there are quite a few plans set up to tackle the issue.

“Some of the things that President Nook talked about was having a more unified branding,” said Konfrst. “In the past, some of the departments at UNI have had their own branding and messages that they are sending to future students, so we are trying to have it where there is a unified branding where when you think of UNI, it is one promotional message,” said Konfrst.

Konfrst said that although it will take time, NISG is confident that the University has the right people working on the project to be able to develop plans to increase enrollment.

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