July 30, 2019

Program helping low-income students approach a new school year knowing they can avoid debt


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — For students facing adversity and socioeconomic challenges, the excitement of a new school year can be overshadowed by financial burdens and difficult home lives.

A program at Purdue University is helping low-income Indiana students not only graduate on time, but with little to no debt. Purdue Promise is a four-year program at Purdue offering financial assistance and on-one-one coaching for eligible Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars.

Data from the latest university census and data from Enrollment Management Analysis and Reporting has revealed that the program’s latest graduates now have a higher graduation rate than the rest of the student body at Purdue. 

Eryn Sale, an incoming senior at Purdue double majoring in neurobiology and genetics, with minors in both physics and math, is a testament to the success of Purdue Promise. She’s on track to graduate from Purdue within four years while accruing little to no debt. Sale plans on going to grad school and eventually becoming a professor of biophysics

“Purdue Promise made all the difference, both financially and personally,” Sale said. “I don’t think my college career would have been possible without it.”

Purdue Promise has more than 1,200 students, and each one works with a coach throughout the student’s years at Purdue. Coaches monitor the students’ progress, help them find resources, and address issues that may affect their success and financial aid eligibility.

Out of 292 Purdue Promise students who started in the fall of 2014, almost 63 percent of them have graduated in four years compared with just over 60 percent of the Purdue student body as a whole. In addition, 60 percent of Purdue Promise students are graduating with no debt – and those with debt average $7,000. Other Indiana undergraduates with debt average more than $24,000.

Writer: Abbey Nickel

Source: Michelle Ashcraft, mashcraf@purdue.edu

Note to journalists: To speak to a Purdue Promise student or to Ashcraft, contact Abbey Nickel at nickela@purdue.edu

A video about the impact of Purdue Promise is available at https://youtu.be/d5vGrmj4B_U 

A news release featuring Eryn Sale is available here.

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