May 4, 2018

Purdue’s pleasant surprise: Largest, most well-prepared class in history expected

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has once again overachieved its enrollment expectations — this time by a wide margin. The models used by the university’s admissions staff had projected a freshman class of 7,800 students, but it now appears 500 more students than anticipated will arrive for the fall semester. 

Fueled largely by an increase in the yield rate of out-of-state students — from 17.7 percent to 19.2 percent — the incoming class will be Purdue’s largest, as well as among the best and most exciting, based on the high level of the cohort’s academic achievements and preparation.

“For the first time, a surprise of this dimension has occurred, at least in recent memory,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Nationwide, the interest in a Purdue education has surged even beyond the increase our historically accurate predictive models had forecasted.” 

The incoming class is expected to include the largest number of Indiana resident students in a decade and 800 more than just five years ago. At the same time, the percentage of international freshman students is expected to fall to single digits for the first time in a decade. The overall undergraduate enrollment is expected to be the largest in Purdue’s history. 

Daniels and Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, immediately authorized the expedited hiring of a dozen new advisors and additional teaching assistants, especially for high-demand courses. Planning will start now to ramp up tutoring and other academic resources for next year. The university is already prepared to meet the increased demand for student housing and food service, and hiring is under way for additional faculty in several key areas. 

Help is also on the way, Daniels said, in terms of facilities. 

“We’ve been planning for this type of increase with new housing units under construction, expanded and additional food and dining options, and much needed lab space,” he said. “We will all have to pitch in to ensure that this record class will receive the outstanding academic experience that is the hallmark of Purdue University.” 

Purdue recently announced plans to construct two new campus residence halls that will add about 1,100 new beds and a new STEM teaching lab building to house all first- and second-year chemistry and biology courses. An expansion of Wiley Dining Court and the addition of new retail food options are also in the works. 

The university’s enrollment projection of 8,300 new incoming students for the 2018-19 academic year is based on the number of admitted students who paid their admissions deposit by the May 1 commitment date.

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