September 14, 2020

Purdue announces fall enrollment numbers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s enrollment at its flagship campus is the highest ever.

This year’s total enrollment at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus reached a record of 45,869 students. This includes 34,920 undergraduates, just under 18,000 of whom are Indiana residents and over 8,200 of whom are considered domestic minorities. The incoming class of 8,869 students includes 4,353 Indiana residents.

This year’s incoming class is the largest in Purdue history, signaling continued student demand for a Purdue education. To prepare for the larger number of students, Purdue has opened two new campus residence hallsa new science teaching lab building and additional dining retail food options.

Purdue enrollment officers credit the growth to the Protect Purdue Plan and work from faculty, staff and others to make the campus as safe as possible for the return of in-person and hybrid learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic. Purdue also created an online option, which allowed 4,900 students – 4,600 undergraduates and 300 graduate students (included in totals above) – who could not be on campus to take courses completely online.

Four- and six-year graduation rates for students who entered in 2016 and 2014, respectively, increased to record highs of 62.6% and 83.3%, an increase over last year’s 60.6% and 82.2%. The one-year retention rate stands at 93.5% of the class that entered last year.

enroll-rush Student volunteers and leaders help move in freshmen during Boiler Gold Rush orientation in August. Purdue announced record enrollments for the West Lafayette campus and first-year students. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

The mean ACT score is 28.8 on a 36 scale, and SAT scores are 1291 on a 1600 scale. The ACT average is unchanged and the SAT average is down slightly from last year’s record high. The average GPA is 3.67 on a 4.0 scale. Purdue also enrolled 93 new National Merit Scholars (1.0% of the incoming class).

Purdue’s minority enrollment continues to grow with 3,749 underrepresented minority undergraduates, representing 12% of domestic enrollment. Purdue now enrolls roughly 1,300 more underrepresented minority students today than it did in 2012. Meanwhile, 8,200, or 27%, of domestic undergraduates are U.S. minorities, which also includes Asian American students. This is almost double the 4,140 enrolled in 2012.

Summer Start, a direct-admission program created in 2015 by Purdue President Mitch Daniels to expand access to a Purdue education – especially among lower-income, first-generation and minority students who fell just short in the admissions process but are considered otherwise qualified to succeed at Purdue – welcomed more than 300 students to campus this year.

Early Start, a program designed for students admitted for the fall semester who want to get a jump-start on their Purdue education, had a record 654 students this summer. Purdue also launched the Emerging Leaders Science Scholars program this fall. The initiative is an expansion of the Emerging Leaders program created in 2014 to increase accessibility for underrepresented students.

Other West Lafayette campus enrollment highlights are:

* Graduate enrollment: 10,014.

* Professional enrollment: 935.

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 17,959; U.S. non-Indiana students, 12,755; and international students, 4,206.

* Total enrollment by gender: women, 19,812; men, 26,057.

* Total enrollment by ethnicity: Black or African American, 1,284; Asian, 4,358; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 30; Hispanic/Latino, 2,660; American Indian/Alaska Native, 58; and two or more races, 1,689.

* West Lafayette, 45,869.

* Polytechnic Statewide, 792. Purdue Polytechnic Institute degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

* Purdue University Northwest: 8,070.

* Purdue University Fort Wayne: 6,879.

* Indiana-University-Purdue University Indianapolis: 5,918.


Kristina Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management:

“Our staff and faculty have done a great job in reaching out in a variety of ways to welcome our new students, especially during the uncertainty of the spring. That commitment, as well as everyone’s flexibility, is why we are experiencing such large interest in Purdue and what our students and graduates can learn and apply out in the world.”

Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity:

“The fact that more than almost 90% of our students chose to be on campus is a reflection of the exceptional residential learning experience created by our faculty and staff. They have gone above and beyond in preparing courses and facilities to deliver our fall semester safely and flexibly, including providing an online opportunity for those students who could not come to West Lafayette. 

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer, Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell),, @mo_oates

Sources: Kristina Wong Davis, 765-494-9116,

Jay Akridge,

Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should follow Protect Purdue protocols and the following guidelines:

  • Campus is open, but the number of people in spaces may be limited. We will be as accommodating as possible, but you may be asked to step out or report from another location.
  • To enable access, particularly to campus buildings, we recommend you contact the Purdue News Service media contact listed on the release to let them know the nature of the visit and where you will be visiting. A News Service representative can facilitate safe access and may escort you on campus.
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Note to journalists: High-resolution photos and Fall 2020 b-roll video of students on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus are available for media use via Google Drive. Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

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