Iowa State University

Iowa State University Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in the city of Ames, Iowa State University is a public co-ed university that offers undergraduate and advanced degrees in over 100 areas of study. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition, and admission information.

Is Iowa State University the Right School for You?

Founded in 1858, Iowa State University (ISU) is a large research university set on a 1,795-acre campus. ISU lists over 100 majors, and as of 2011, 20% of students were enrolled in business, marketing, management, and related support services majors, making it the most popular field of study. ISU is a public land-grant university, which means that research activities on campus are geared toward the public good. If this sounds like a place where you might like to spend four years of study, read more about the pros and cons, as well as application and enrollment information, for Iowa State University.


  • Acceptance rate is more than 22 percentage points above the national average
  • High number of academic programs
  • One of the largest campus public art programs in the country
  • Located less than 40 miles from the state capital of Des Moines


  • Student-faculty ratio is higher than the national average
  • Total in-state cost is $1,060 higher than the national average cost for public 4-year colleges
  • Graduation rate is seven percentage points lower than the national average

Rankings and School Analysis

U.S. News & World Report ranked ISU the 101th best national university in 2013. Students at ISU are encouraged to contribute to the school's history of research in agriculture, business, design, engineering, human sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and veterinary medicine. From a student club that designs and builds robots for a NASA competition to internship opportunities at the university's Plant Sciences Institute, there are many possibilities at ISU for hands-on learning.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Iowa State University has an 18:1 student-faculty ratio, which is greater than the national average of 16:1. NCES figures also show that the total cost to attend ISU, including on-campus room and board, books, and other expenses, is slightly above the national average for 4-year public schools. In 2012-2013, in-state students paid a total cost of $18,920, compared to the national average of $17,860, while out-of-state students paid $31,032, compared to the national average of $30,911. However, you might find that the large number of cultural, research, athletic, and academic options, as well as its 86% acceptance rate, make ISU a school to consider.

According to NCES, ISU boasted a retention rate of 88% from 2010-2011, which means most freshmen continued on to their second year. The university's 4-year graduation rate for students who began in Fall 2005 was 33%, which was less than the national average of 40%. However, within six years, 68% of students had graduated.

Getting in and Financial Aid at Iowa State University

If you choose to apply to ISU, your application package is due by July 1st. The university notes that the most important factors in its admissions decision-making process are test scores, high school GPA, academic rigor, and class rank.

To apply for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA and have your financial aid application in by March 1st for priority notification. There are nearly 60 scholarship opportunities at ISU. Many of these scholarships, including the Danielson Awards, honor former faculty members or alumni and have specific guidelines and deadlines. College Board reported that 26% of students had their full need met in 2012 and that the average financial aid package was $12,000.

Admissions and Financial Aid
Regular Application Deadline (2013) July 1st*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013) March 1st (priority deadline)*
Admission Notification Date (2013) Rolling notifications*
Application Fee (2013) $40**
Acceptance Rate (2011) 86%**
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2013) $18,920 for in-state students and $31,032 for out-of-state students**
Average Financial Aid Package (2012) $12,000*
Percent of Students With Need Met (2012)26%*
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012) $30,374*
Student Loan Default Rate (2009)4.0%**

Student Life at Iowa State University

As a student at ISU, you can choose from over 750 clubs and organizations. The university also has an active Greek life; according to 2012 College Board stats, 17% of women at ISU join a sorority, and 14% of men join a frat. If you're a football fan, you can cheer on the university's NCAA Division I team, the Cyclones. Though there are a variety of campus housing options available, including theme housing and alcohol-free housing, more than half of ISU students choose to live off-campus.

ISU provides academic support services, including no-cost tutoring, academic intervention, and workshops on topics like study methods and time management. The university also has a Soar in 4: Four-Year Graduation Program, where advisers work with students to ensure they finish their course of study within four years.

The library at ISU has one main building as well as smaller branches specific to design, mathematics, and veterinary medicine. The main library consists of five floors and houses many of the pieces in the university's large art collection, as well as the university archives, special collections, study rooms, periodicals, computer labs, book collections, and a cafe. Many library materials and services are available online as part of ISU's e-library.

Student Life
Campus Setting Small city**
Student Population (2011) 24,343 undergraduates, 5,268 graduate students**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 56% to 44%**
% of Full-Time Students (2011)95%**
% of In-State Students (2010) 63%**
% of International Students (2010)6%**
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 88%**
Campus Housing Available Yes**
% of Students Living On-Campus 39.3%***
Extracurricular Activities Approximately 800 registered student organizations and clubs***

Sources: *College Board, **NCES, ***U.S. News & World Report

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2011
  • Phone: (800) 262-3810