February 16, 2020

Purdue announces 9th consecutive tuition freeze

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Saturday (Feb. 15) announced that tuition at the university’s flagship West Lafayette campus will hold at 2012 levels through 2021-22, marking the ninth straight year of no tuition increase.

In addition, Daniels said, Purdue will continue its strategy of investing in people and priority initiatives, and will provide a 3% salary merit pool for West Lafayette employees for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

As total student loan debt in the United States has climbed to $1.56 trillion, with the average borrower saddled with nearly $33,000 in debt by graduation, Purdue has made affordability and accessibility top institutional priorities.

This newest extension means that seven graduating classes will have earned their degrees without seeing any tuition hike, all while receiving an education considered among the nation’s most valuable.

More students than ever are seeking a Purdue degree — more than 55,000 applied for admission for fall 2020 — and more employers than ever are seeking out Purdue graduates. Enrollment, an overall 44,551 students, is at its highest ever, and the academic credentials of incoming students and graduation rates continue to rise to record levels. At the same time, Purdue has added expert faculty, 87% of whom are tenured or tenure-track, the highest among public AAU institutions. The undergraduate student-faculty ratio remains among the best in the Big Ten and has held steady over the course of the tuition freeze. 

Had Purdue raised tuition and fees and room and board at the same rate as comparable institutions, Purdue families would have spent a combined $600 million more over the past seven years. A graduating in-state student who has lived on campus the past four years has saved over $12,000 compared with the rate increases at other universities; an out-of-state student has saved over $31,000.

In fact, the number of Purdue students who graduated debt-free in 2018-19 was 59% compared with 43% nationally. Annual student borrowing at Purdue is $126 million, down one-third since 2012, and debt per undergraduate for 2019 stands at $3,558, down $1,900 since 2012.

Room and board rates at the West Lafayette campus have seen no increase for eight consecutive years. Board rates were reduced twice — for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years — and have not subsequently changed. Therefore, the total cost of room and board is lower for 2020-21 than it was in 2012-13, even before accounting for inflation, bringing Purdue’s rates from second most expensive in the Big Ten in 2012 to the most affordable — 14th — in 2018.

In fall semester 2019, a record number of Purdue students received funding from the Purdue Research Foundation’s Back a Boiler income share agreement program, which provides students an alternative to Federal Parent PLUS and private student loans. When Back a Boiler was launched in the 2016-17 academic year, Purdue became the first major U.S. university to offer such a plan. Since its inception, the fund has invested $13.8 million in Purdue students. Other universities around the country have followed Purdue’s lead.

Purdue offered enrollment to 2,200 more Indiana residents in 2019 than it did prior to freezing tuition. Undergraduate enrollment at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus includes over 17,000 Indiana residents and more than 7,000 domestic minorities.

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