September 11, 2017

Purdue sets record for student enrollment, graduation rate

Enrollment tracks Incoming students participate in the traditional "Crossing the Tracks" event on Memorial Mall during Boiler Gold Rush. Purdue University set another record for total enrollment this fall. The university also reported that academic preparedness and graduation rates increased. (Purdue University/Mark Simons) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s overall enrollment is its highest ever and the incoming class is the largest since 2006 and one of its most academically prepared, the university announced Monday (Sept. 11).

Total enrollment of 41,573 at Purdue West Lafayette set a new record, with a growth of 1,122 students over last year, and includes 31,006 undergraduates, said Kristina Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management. Some of that growth was bolstered by a historic high of 48,916 freshman applications.

 “The increase in enrollment speaks to the continuing and overwhelming demand for a Purdue education,” Wong Davis said. “Families recognize our institution is a good investment – that Purdue delivers on its commitment to preparing students for life-long success.”

The incoming class of 7,567 is the largest class since 2006 and includes 4,095 students from Indiana, up from 3,809 last year, and 809 underrepresented students, a 16-percent increase over 2016.

Importantly, the first-year class is one of the most academically prepared classes the university has ever had. The mean ACT score is 28.1 on a 36 scale, and SAT scores are 1256 on a 1600 scale. The average GPA is 3.75. Purdue continues to see extremely academically competitive students choosing Purdue, Wong Davis said. Purdue also enrolled 103 new beginning National Merit Scholars.

Enrollment express The 2017 incoming class is 7,567, the largest class since 2006. Prior to the start of the semester, incoming students posed for photos on the Boilermaker Special on Memorial Mall during Boiler Gold Rush. (Purdue University/Mark Simons) Download image

The fact that Purdue continues to enroll students who are well prepared for college success leads to better graduation rates, which continue to climb – reaching an all-time record this year.

Four- and six-year graduation rates increased to 58.5 percent and 78.7 percent, over 55.9 percent and 77 percent, respectively, last year. The one-year retention rate stands at 91.6 percent of the class that entered last year.

 “These results, combined with greater interest in Purdue, provide more evidence that students find Purdue an affordable destination where those who work hard will succeed,” said Jay Akridge, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “Purdue is proactive in supporting the success of our students with a variety of academic resources, such as Boiler Gold Rush, Learning Communities and IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) classes, to help them graduate on time and succeed beyond college.”

There also are a record 9,626 graduate students enrolled this fall, 165 more than last year.

 “The Graduate School has experienced increased interest from U.S. applicants and those interested in distance education,” said Thomas Atkinson, associate dean of the graduate school. “We have tracked especially strong admission growth in Polytechnic Institute, Education and Science graduate programs.”

Total undergraduate international enrollment is down 3 percent, said Michael Brzezinski, dean of International Programs. The 890 first-year students comprise a geographically diverse group: 34 percent from China, 23 percent from India and 43 percent from 70 other countries around the world.

“We continue to matriculate a diverse class with greater representation from countries around the world,” Brzezinski said. “Such diversity is important across campus as we prepare all students for a diverse and global workforce. We also want to note that more than 30 percent of the international freshmen are female. This is one of the highest, if not the highest percentage, ever for Purdue.”

Other West Lafayette campus enrollment highlights include:

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 16,445; U.S. non-Indiana students, 9,628; and international students, 4,933

* Total enrollment by gender: Women, 17,965; men, 23,608

* Total enrollment by ethnicity: Black or African-American, 1,272; Asian, 2,853; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 31; Hispanic/Latino, 1,968; American Indian/Alaska Native, 65; and two or more races, 1,056 

Statewide campus enrollment totals include: 

* West Lafayette, 41,573

* Purdue University Northwest, 12,071.

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 10,414.

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 6,254.

* Polytechnic Statewide, 1,128 Purdue Polytechnic Institute degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

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

Sources: Kristina Wong Davis, 765-494-9116, kwongdav@purdue.edu

Jay Akridge, akridge@purdue.edu

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

Thomas Atkinson, 765-494-2600, tatkinson@purdue.edu

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