Enrollment report a positive sign for first-year Purdue students

September 13, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The academic quality of Purdue students continues to rise, according to 2010-11 enrollment figures released Monday (Sept. 13) by university officials.

"This is the fifth consecutive year that the quality of our incoming class has increased," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "The accomplishments these students bring to campus positions them to succeed. We expect great things from this class."

This year's freshman class of 6,347 students at the West Lafayette campus - composed of 3,733 Indiana residents, 1,819 U.S. nonresidents and 795 international students - is 176 students larger than last year's class. The class average SAT score increased by nine points to a total of 1717 on the critical reading, math and writing sections. This follows last year's increase of 11 points. The average high school grade point average is 3.6, up 0.1 from last year.

"Purdue is known for its strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and mentoring. We want students who are prepared to work hard and thrive during their time here," said Timothy Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. "More students are interested in Purdue because we provide an environment for success with programs such as learning communities and Boiler Gold Rush."

The West Lafayette total enrollment is 39,726, which is 29 more than last year.

Purdue's total enrollment, which includes the West Lafayette campus, Purdue Calumet, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue North Central and the Statewide Technology program is 74,759. All but 215 Indiana students who applied to the West Lafayette campus were offered admission to the Purdue system. Last year system-wide enrollment was 74,319. More than 71 percent, or 53,698, of the students this year are Indiana residents.

Statewide campus enrollment totals include:

* Purdue Calumet, 9,807

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 14,192

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 5,065 enrolled in Purdue programs

* Purdue North Central, 4,614

* Statewide Technology, 1,355. College of Technology degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus/Greensburg, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

More than 30,700 students applied for a spot in the West Lafayette freshman class, a record high for the second year in a row.

Pamela T. Horne, associate vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admissions, said the strong interest in Purdue and the high academic standing of students is not a short-term trend.

"We continue to attract more of Indiana's brightest students, and that is because Purdue places an emphasis on learning and real-world experience," Horne said.

Part of that real-world experience is from American students interacting with the large international student population at Purdue. The undergraduate international student population also had a record-breaking year. The number of international undergraduate students increased from 2,818 last year to 3,420 this year, said Michael Brzezinski, interim vice provost for global affairs and dean of international programs.

"Purdue is known for its strong international student population, and many prospective employers realize that Purdue students who studied in such a diverse environment have a broad cultural understanding and a broad worldview," he said. "The development of these soft skills, when combined with the expertise of any given Purdue major, makes our graduates capable of successfully interacting with people from around the world, whether it be future work colleagues, potential customers or business, educational or political leaders. Our graduates are more attractive employees because of the presence of international students on our campus."

The Graduate School also saw its largest incoming class at 2,069.

"A variety of reasons contributed to this increase," said Mark J. T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School. "More domestic students are pursuing advanced degrees because of the economy, more international students are applying to U.S. graduate schools and Purdue also is offering more graduate programs. For example, the College of Technology has three new department-based graduate programs admitting students this year."

This year also marked a difference in how ethnicity is reported, Horne said. Federal guidelines have changed, and, as a result, some of the student categories have changed from previous years.

The new categories and counts for the West Lafayette campus are:

* Black or African-American, 1,379;

* Asian, 2,071;

* Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 16;

* Hispanic/Latino, 1,184;

* American Indian/Native Alaskan, 131;

* And two or more races, 254.

Other West Lafayette enrollment highlights:

* Total undergraduates: 30,836

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students 19,381, U.S. non-Indiana students 8,035, and international students 3,420

* Total international students: 6,761

* Professional programs (Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy): 910

* Incoming transfer students: 1,119

* Gender: Women 16,682, men 23,044

Last month, Purdue was acknowledged by U.S.News & World Report for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and programs that ensure student success. Purdue programs listed include first-year experience, internships, learning communities, study abroad and writing in the disciplines. Purdue also was tied for 12th nationally in a ranking of universities cited by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans as having an "unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching." The USNews & World Report also ranked Purdue 18th among the nation's public universities. This ranking is up from 22nd last year.

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources:   France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu

                   Timothy Sands, 765-494-9709, tsands@purdue.edu

                   Pamela T. Horne, 765-494-7014, pamhorne@purdue.edu

                   Michael Brzezinski, 765-494-7084, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

                   Mark J.T. Smith, 765-494-2604, mjts@purdue.edu