'Year of records' continues at Purdue

September 14, 2015  


Overall enrollment at Purdue is up, and the university also reports its first-year class has an increase of Indiana residents and once again set records for its academic profile. Prior to the start of the fall semester, many of the first-year students participated in the university’s orientation program Boiler Gold Rush and its related activities. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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Enrollment up, grad rates at all-time high

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Overall enrollment at Purdue is up, and the university also reports its first-year class has an increase of 218 Indiana residents and once again set records for its academic profile. At the same time, graduation rates are at an all-time high as Purdue continues to maintain a strong academic profile.

Enrollment climbed from 38,770 to 39,409. The 6,812 first-year student class is an increase of more than 300 over last year’s entering class, and includes 3,518 Indiana residents, which is more than 50 percent of the incoming class. This is the largest incoming class since 2008, and the most in-state first-year students since 2010. The increase in Indiana residents is attributed in part to doubling the size of the Marquis scholarship, which is available for middle-income Indiana residents, from $2,000 to $4,000.

“Our overarching goal is to provide higher education at the highest proven value, and this is key to Purdue’s enrollment increase,” said university President Mitch Daniels.

The four-year and six-year graduate rates increased to 51.5 percent and 75.4 percent from 49.2 percent and 73.8 percent, respectively. The first-year retention rate is at 92.8 percent compared with 92.6 percent to last year, and the second-year retention rate is 87.7 percent, up from last year’s 86.1 percent.

The university also received a record number of applications of 45,023, up from 39,706.

This year, Purdue also set records in fundraising, raising an all-time record of $343.4 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30; in research funding with a record $401 million; and in commercialization with 178 new patents, 131 licensed technologies and 25 startups based on Purdue licenses.

“The graduation rate continues to increase because students are well-prepared when they arrive at Purdue, and they are increasingly supported with student programming and opportunities to help them succeed,” said Pamela T. Horne, vice provost for enrollment management. “These achievements are possible thanks to admissions staff and recruiters as well as the faculty and staff who design and support programing to enhance the Purdue experience, including mentoring and developing student leadership and research opportunities.”

These are all Purdue Moves goals, which are a range of initiatives designed to broaden the university’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students while remaining affordable.

The first-year class includes 2,230 U.S. nonresidents and 1,064 international students. The number of new transfer students is 770, up from 696.

“Colleges across campus are becoming more transfer friendly, and Purdue is strengthening its recruiting initiatives directed at community colleges,” said Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “Transfer enrollment has been on the decline and we established the campus-wide Transfer Up program to reverse that trend. This increase is after our first year’s efforts, so we expect the numbers to continue to increase in the coming years.”

Another Provost’s Office initiative in development focuses on increasing diversity among students, and Dutta recently announced investing $1 million in the Diversity Transformation Awards, which will feature proposals developed and led by Purdue faculty.

Undergraduate minority enrollment reached a record high of 4,746 students, which is up 316 students from last year and up 810 students since 2008. Minorities now account for 16.1 percent of Purdue's undergraduate enrollment compared with 12.4 percent in 2008. New beginning minority enrollment also reached a record high of 1,206 students, and minorities now account for 17.7 percent of total new beginning enrollment.

The academic credentials of the first-year class continue to be strong, with the SAT total at an all-time high of 1790. Since 2012 the average SAT score has increased 41 points. The average ACT score also is a record high, increasing to 27.7 from 27.5 last year. The average high school grade point average of the first-year class is 3.72.

“While Purdue increases its enrollment, we continue to admit top-achieving students who can meet the university’s high expectations and be successful students,” Horne said. “Purdue offers opportunities through engaging coursework, study abroad and leadership development, which are proven to pay off after graduation, according to the Gallup-Purdue Index."

GPI is a nationally recognized survey gauging the well-being of more than 30,000 college graduates.

One program that continues to attract some of Purdue’s highest-achieving students is the Honors College. More than 550 new students enrolled this year.

The total number of international students is 9,230, an all-time high. There are 124 countries represented, and the number of students from India has increased by 15 percent. This fall’s first-year international student class is the most diverse it has been in recent history.

“Studying at Purdue is a global experience, and that is something many potential employers recognize,” said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs. “The international experience is a key aspect of the Purdue culture. Collectively, our campus offers multiple cross-cultural experiences for both domestic and international students during not only orientation, but also throughout the fall and spring semesters. Cultural trips, local volunteer opportunities and on-campus cultural programming are but a few of the many options.”

The number of Graduate School students is 8,974, which is 406 more than last year’s 8,568.

“This increase reflects a national trend, as many fields are demanding advanced degrees,” said Mark J.T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School.

In addition, 938 students are enrolled in professional programs (Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy).

Other West Lafayette campus enrollment highlights include:

* Total undergraduates: 29,497

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 15,971; U.S. non-Indiana students, 8,311; and international students, 5,215.

* Gender: Women 16,730; men 22,679

* Ethnicity: Black or African-American, 1,183; Asian, 2,318; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 39; Hispanic/Latino, 1,626; American Indian/Alaska Native, 57; and two or more races, 810.

Statewide campus enrollment totals include:

* West Lafayette, 39,409

* Purdue Calumet, 9,301

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 12,719

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 6,010 enrolled in Purdue programs

* Purdue North Central, 6,158

* Statewide Technology, 1,072. 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:  Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Deba Dutta, 765-494-9709, dutta@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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