Purdue continues 7-year trend of attracting high-quality students

September 6, 2013  


bgr class

First-year Purdue students are participating in the university's 2013 orientation program, Boiler Gold Rush. For the seventh year, the quality of Purdue's first-year class has risen, which continues to have a positive impact on the university's retention and graduation rates as well as overall student success. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - This is the seventh consecutive year the quality of Purdue's first-year class has risen, which continues to have a positive impact on the university's retention and graduation rates as well as overall student success.

Purdue also saw its largest number of undergraduate applications - 30,955 - and its yield is up overall, meaning a greater percentage of the students who are admitted to Purdue are choosing Purdue. In addition, the number of admitted Indiana students choosing Purdue is up from 58.4 percent last year to 59.2 percent this year.

"Top students, from Indiana and across the world, are coming to Purdue because of the university's well-known academic programs and its affordability," said university President Mitch Daniels. "Campus-wide recruiting efforts and providing a range of student resources for those who are willing to work hard to succeed also contribute to the quality of our new students. Students and their parents know Purdue is a good investment. We're proud to say that once again Purdue's freshman class has raised the bar in terms of academic quality."

Daniels and many college deans spent their evenings last spring calling Indiana high school seniors who received some of Purdue's top scholarship awards to congratulate and encourage them to choose Purdue. Current students also reach out to prospective students to answer specific questions about academic programs.

The 6,283 first-year students include 3,453 Indiana residents, 1,852 U.S. nonresidents and 978 international students. The academic credentials of the first-year class represent all-time highs in test scores and grade point averages, and the largest jump in SAT scores in eight years. The class average SAT scores increased by 24 points to a combined 1773 on the critical reading, math and writing sections. This follows an increase of 18 points last year and 14 points in 2011. The average ACT score increased to 27.2 from 26.9 last year. The average high school grade point average of the freshman class is 3.70, which is up from 3.66 in 2012.

"Better prepared students combined with well-designed student success programs ensure that more of our students complete their degrees," said Timothy Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. "By increasing our expectations of incoming students, we raise the aspirations of Indiana K-12 students, retain more Indiana talent, and attract more well-prepared students to Indiana from the U.S. and around the world.

"High-achieving students also are interested in Purdue because of the new Honors College and its mission of supporting academic excellence through opportunities in residential learning experiences and exposure to cross-disciplinary problem solving."

The college was approved by Purdue trustees in 2011 and welcomed its first class of 556 this year.

Total enrollment, which is 468 fewer than last year, also reflects Purdue's goal to shift its total student population to 29,000-30,000 undergraduates and more than 9,000 graduate students.

"We are achieving our multi-year plan to optimize the alignment of undergraduate enrollment with our physical plant and academic resources, while at the same time gradually increasing graduate student enrollment," said Pamela T. Horne, associate vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admissions. "Ensuring opportunity and access to campus programs and services is critical to support the students who have worked hard to earn their place at Purdue and who are on track for success."

Purdue also saw record numbers for its retention and graduation rates. The first-year retention rate is at 91.0 compared to last year's 90.6 percent, and the second-year retention rate is at 84.3 up from last year's 83.7 percent. Both the four-year and six-year graduation rates increased from 45.7 percent and 70.2 percent to 46.8 percent and 70.7 percent, respectively.

The total estimated system enrollment - which includes West Lafayette, Purdue Calumet, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, select programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue North Central and the Statewide Technology Program - is 74,259. Indiana residents make up 67.8 percent of students in the Purdue system. The final campus enrollment for Purdue North Central will not be available until next week.

Statewide campus enrollment totals include:

* West Lafayette, 38,788

* Purdue Calumet, 9,422

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 13,459

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 5,552 enrolled in Purdue programs

* Purdue North Central, estimated, 6,020

* Statewide Technology, 1,018 College of Technology degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus/Greensburg, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

The number of international students on the West Lafayette campus is 8,702, which is 140 students more than last year, and is a record.

"In line with the university's student success goals, this group of first-year international students is the best academically prepared class," said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs. "These students bring their culture and their world views with them to our campus and in doing so they provide a global experience for our Indiana and U.S. non-resident students alike."

The number of Graduate School students is 8,407, which is 244 more than last year's 8,163. The Graduate School received 16,895 applications this year.

"Purdue's graduate school has seen a fairly steady increase in enrollment over the last decade, and this reflects a general trend of interest in graduate programs, especially in the colleges of Engineering and Technology," said Mark J. T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School.

In addition, another 941 students are enrolled in professional programs (Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy).

Other West Lafayette enrollment highlights:

* Ethnicity: Black or African-American, 1,229; Asian, 1,887; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 36; Hispanic/Latino, 1,463; American Indian/Alaska Native, 57; and two or more races, 695. Purdue saw an increase in both total minority -- up 151 to 5,367 from last year's 5,216 -- and underrepresented minorities -- up 53 to 3,169 to last year's 3,116.

* Total undergraduates: 29,440

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 16,751; U.S. non-Indiana students, 7,749; and international students, 4,940

* Incoming transfer students: 702

* Gender: Women 16,383, men 22,405

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

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

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

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

Michael Brzezinski, 765-494-9399, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

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

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