AACRAO Transcript, DC
by: Heather Zimar
Iowa Community Colleges See Rise in Enrollment
Iowa’s 15 community colleges enrolled 18,715 students this fall, a 3 percent
increase over last year and a 25 percent increase over five years, reports The
Des Moines Register.
Officials attribute the growth to affordability, new programs, online courses and
more high school students taking college classes. Iowa’s numbers go against the
national trend of flat or declining enrollment after several years of significant
growth. “It fluctuates historically with what’s going on in the economy,” said
Norma Kent of the American Association of Community Colleges. “When the
economy is questionable, enrollments go up. Tuition has something to do with it.”
Eleven of the state’s 15 community colleges reported an increase in fall 2005
enrollment. Northwest Iowa Community College saw the largest percentage
increase, 13.1 percent. The six-campus DesMoines Area Community College
saw the largest raw number jump, 808 students.
Students under the age of 17 are the fastest growing segment of community
college students. Their numbers doubled, from 5,230 to 10,593, in the last five
The number of high school students enrolled in college courses for credit grew
46.5 percent—from 15,633 to 22,905—between 2002 and 2005. They made up
19 percent of community college students.
A record 9,500 students enrolled in online courses offered by seven Iowa
community colleges this fall. That is an increase of 30 percent from last year.
More than 100 online courses are available.
Tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses average $11,236 this year at
Iowa’s community colleges. Those same expenses at Iowa’s three state
universities average $16,328.
The growing community college enrollment could be affecting Iowa’s public
universities. Enrollment at Iowa State University is 25,462 this fall, a
decrease of 1 percent. Still, Marc Harding, Iowa State’s director of
admissions, said it is not a threat. Freshmen enrollment at the university
increased this fall by 5.7 percent. “It’s just that more students are at Iowa’s
community colleges than ever before,” he said. “It’s imperative that we, Iowa
State University.build as strong a relationship as possible with the community