Dear Purdue alumni and friends,
Fall 2015 signals another step forward in our efforts toward accessibility, affordability and success for Purdue students (and your future fellow alumni).
A few weeks ago, we welcomed our largest incoming class since 2008 and once again celebrated record retention and graduation rates. Notably, the number of Indiana residents in this year’s entering class is 3,518, the most in-state first-year students since 2010.
As you have heard us say many times, Purdue is out to deliver higher education at the highest proven value. We think this is a worthwhile goal that is paying off for our students, our faculty and staff, our alumni and our worldwide community.
We’re now into our third year of flat tuition, reduced room and board rates, and options for lower cost books and supplies via our partnership with Amazon.com. (That partnership, it should be noted, has added $400,000 so far to our student accessibility and affordability fund.) In addition, student and parent borrowing is down 23 percent since 2011-12, and our cost of attendance is also declining, in direct contrast to that of other Big Ten universities and most other institutions across the country.
The 39,409 students who are learning at Purdue today are positioned to be more successful than any previous cohort. These students are staying in school — we now have a record 92.8 percent retention rate for first-year to second-year students — and they are graduating at a higher rate. We are supporting them once they get here with added focus on mentoring, with programming and classrooms that enhance the learning environment, and with multiple opportunities for enrichment both in and outside of the classroom.
A university is a place where we can and should explore diverse points of view. Among the opportunities offered on our campus and in the community are events and speakers that bring a variety of perspectives. In the past few weeks, our Presidential Lecture Series has featured New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, both of whom drew large crowds and provided candid and interesting discussion of important topics to our students and other attendees. Bruni encouraged our students — and all in the audience — to seek out diversity, to find and get to know individuals from different backgrounds, to use their college years to learn all they can about other perspectives, and to be open to new opportunities. Duncan declared his appreciation for the strides Purdue is taking in education reform, including Purdue's work to create the Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School. Both of these lectures can be viewed at The Presidential Lecture Series website.
In addition, just last week (Sept. 24-25), we hosted the second annual Dawn or Doom conference, during which dynamic speakers from Purdue and across the country discussed the societal effects of technologies such as data science and surveillance, space travel, artificial intelligence, robotics and drones. You can read about the speakers and presentations from that conference here.
We know from the results of the Gallup-Purdue Index that enriching and diverse experiences and direct involvement with faculty lead to fulfilling lives at work, in the community and at home. Our faculty, staff and partners around the state, country and world will continue to expand on these opportunities as we provide proven value for the thousands of students who seek a Purdue education.
Thank you for all you do for our great university.
Hovde Hall, Room 200 • 610 Purdue Mall • West Lafayette, IN 47907-2040 • (765) 494-9708 • Fax (765) 494-7875