September 12, 2016

Purdue University sets records for largest enrollment and highest graduation rates ever

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Some 40,451 students descended on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus this semester, setting the record for the largest enrollment ever.

That is 1,042 more than last year, said Pam Horne, vice provost for enrollment management. It includes 30,043 undergraduates. 

"Our goal is to offer a high-quality education at the highest proven value to as many students as we can," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. "The increase in our enrollment is a testament to this commitment."

The incoming class is the largest since 2006 at 7,243 freshmen, 369 more than last year.

Among those are 3,809 Hoosiers, the most since 2009 and an increase of 266 over last year, Horne said.

The freshman class is also the most academically prepared class the university has ever had. The mean ACT score is an all-time record at 27.9 and the average GPA is 3.74. SAT scores are comparable to 2015 at 1782 on the 2400 scale.

Purdue also had 98 new beginning National Merit Scholars enroll at the university, a record number, Horne said.

The increase in enrollment comes on the heels of a record 48,285 applications. More students accepted Purdue's offer than expected, so the new class is even larger than projected.

There also is a record 9,461 graduate students enrolled this fall, 487 more than last year.

"Five years ago, the Graduate School enrolled under 8,000 students," said Thomas Atkinson, associate dean of the graduate school. "New online and professional master's programs in multiple colleges as well as significant growth in the College of Engineering have all contributed to the enrollment increase."

The incoming class is the most diverse Purdue has ever had. Students come from 48 of 50 states and 68 countries around the world.

The class includes 697 underrepresented minority students, a 17 percent increase over 2015. When all minorities are counted, the total is 1,386, a 12 percent increase over last year. Both are record numbers, Horne said. There are 3,126 women in the class - the largest number since 2008.

By design, the 928 new international students compose a smaller, more geographically diverse group, Horne said. Among them, 35 percent are from China, 21 percent are from India and 44 percent are from 66 other countries around the world.

"A broadly diverse student body benefits all students and creates a vibrant campus culture," said Deba Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. "Students have greater opportunities for both learning and friendships across differences of background - not only enhancing their experiences as students, but also their preparation to assume leadership roles in an increasingly complex and global society."

Michael Brzezinski, dean of International Programs, said this group of international students is one of the most well-prepared and diverse Purdue has ever had.

"While China and India continue to send the largest number of students, this fall we have enrolled a much higher percentage of students from other countries," he said. "These noteworthy results are evidence that our efforts to matriculate the strongest possible academically, linguistically and culturally prepared students from abroad is paying off. We will strive to continue to build on this year's success in the future."

Graduation rates are at an all-time Purdue record.

Four- and six-year graduation rates increased to 56 percent and 77 percent, over 52 percent and 75 percent last year. The one-year retention rate stands at 92 percent of the class that entered last year.

The graduation rate increase can be attributed to many student success programs such as Boiler Gold Rush, Learning Communities, Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation (IMPACT), Think Summer, Purdue Promise and others.

Other West Lafayette campus enrollment highlights include:

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 16,016; U.S. non-Indiana students, 8,924; and international students, 5,103.

* Total Enrollment by Gender: Women 17,235; men 23,216

* Total Enrollment by Ethnicity: Black or African-American, 1,237; Asian, 2,595; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 43; Hispanic/Latino, 1,755; American Indian/Alaska Native, 65; and two or more races, 890. 

Statewide campus enrollment totals include: 

* West Lafayette, 40,451

Purdue University Northwest, 15,286

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 4,513

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 6,275 enrolled in Purdue programs

* Polytechnic Statewide, 1071. Purdue Polytechnic Institute degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, 

Sources: Pam Horne, 765-494-9116,

Mitch Daniels,

Deba Dutta,

Mike Brzezinski, 765-494-9399,

Thomas Atkinson, 765-494-2600,

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