Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

UNI president plans major recruiting effort

Jul 12, 2013

DES MOINES (AP) — Admissions representatives at the University of Northern Iowa will visit every public school district in the state in an effort to bring up a declining enrollment, the new president said Thursday.

William Ruud, who became president of the Cedar Falls university in June, told The Des Moines Register he's challenged his admissions office "to set foot in all 348 school districts in Iowa this year."

Fall enrollment at UNI, the smallest of Iowa's state universities, is projected at 11,800 students, the fewest since 1989. Iowa State University in Ames had more than 31,000 students last year. The University of Iowa in Iowa City had a similar enrollment for the current school year.

"We can build a university that is a good size, a good opportunity, so that there are three great, reasonable 'first choices' for every young person in the state of Iowa to look at in the public sector when they go to a four-year university," he said.

The projected 4 percent decline in enrollment at UNI could result in a $6.1 million decrease in the university's $166 million budget.

Ruud, who replaced the retired Benjamin Allen, said improving recruitment efforts could reverse the decline. He added that the university will try to recruit more in-state students.

That includes current students visiting their home high schools and talking about their experiences at UNI. The university may also partner with community colleges in the state to work with non-traditional students who can attend UNI through online classes or at a satellite campus.

Other efforts include recruiting students from major cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago and St. Louis. There's also the possibility of reducing tuition for students who live in out-of-state-counties that border Iowa, a model used by the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Ruud said UNI would try to recruit "as many talented, well-qualified students as possible."

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