August 5, 2022

Purdue’s Summer Session sets record, shows strong demand for Purdue education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — More students than ever are graduating early, participating in study abroad and earning extra credentials through enrollment in Summer Session classes at Purdue.

Purdue’s total enrollment of graduate, professional and undergraduate students across all Summer Session programs this year is more than 22,000, which is an increase of almost 15% from Summer Session 2021. The percentage of continuing degree-seeking undergraduate students who are taking summer courses is now more than 40%.

The push to increase summer enrollment is a component of Purdue’s Transformative Education initiative, one of the most successful Purdue Moves, a series of priorities conceived by President Mitch Daniels in 2013. Transformative Education’s “year-round university” initiatives aim to increase overall capacity and move students more quickly toward graduation, making higher education more affordable as well as enabling faster completion rates and helping employers address staffing needs with college graduates.

Thanks in part to Summer Session programs, Purdue’s four-year graduation rate has increased to 65% for students who started in 2017, from 55.9% for those who started in 2012 (latest data available), while average time to degree has decreased from 4.26 years for the 2012-13 academic year to 3.95 years for the 2020-21 academic year.

For this year’s Summer Session, of 22,000 students, 13,515 are undergraduates, marking a 100% growth rate from Summer Session 2012. Most undergraduate students are taking online courses, sometimes while participating in an internship, conducting research, working or living at home. Purdue officials expect to award more than 100,000 credit hours, up 10% from last summer – another Purdue record.

In addition, one of the university’s most important experiential learning programs, Purdue Study Abroad, has more than 700 students participating this summer. While not at record numbers, the program is coming back strong at about 70% of its peak prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in numerous cancellations and postponements due to travel restrictions.

hunt-allison Incoming Purdue University student Maurice Hunt works with Morgan Allison, Early Start coordinator and success coach, on a project during a recent class during Purdue’s Summer Session. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

“We are excited that students are enrolling in summer classes and activities at these record levels,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “Summer Session is a fundamental part of Purdue’s commitment to accessibility and affordability. We are also seeing many conferences return to campus this summer, fostering collaboration and connections with various fields and industries. Many faculty and staff members have worked hard to restart several of the summer programs that were put on hold due to the pandemic, as well as increase enrollment and access for a number of popular programs.”

Purdue’s Summer College for High School Students has seen a dramatic increase in popularity, having received more than 1,900 applications for 800 spots – a 50% increase from summer 2021. High school students earning college credit are registered for one-week and four-week courses now through Friday (Aug. 5).

Other summer programs with high attendance numbers include Summer Start and Early Start. Summer Start is a direct-admit program created in 2015 by Daniels to expand access to a Purdue education, especially among lower-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority students who fall just short in the admissions process but are considered otherwise qualified to succeed at Purdue. More than 90% of students in the 2022 cohort are from Indiana, and two in five are underrepresented minority students. Early Start, a program designed for students admitted for the fall semester who want to jump-start their Purdue education, is running now through Aug. 12. Overall, 23% of all underrepresented minority students are starting in the summer, including 48% of all new undergraduate Black Boilermakers. Currently, 32 members of Purdue Polytechnic High Schools’ Class of 2022 are enrolled in summer programs.

“Summer Session is important for students,” said John Gipson, executive director of Summer Session. “It provides many with a chance to get ahead with classes and complete internships or other research programs that are more readily available in the summer. Summer is also a great opportunity for new Boilermakers to get acclimated to campus and earn credits prior to the fall.

“We’re also excited that many students are taking advantage of online classes during the summer. The expansion of online coursework allows students to complete experiential education activities, work and more while moving closer to graduation. Online courses also accommodate students around the world.”

Purdue’s Virtual Student Transition, Advising and Registration program is happening currently, preparing more than 9,000 new students before Boiler Gold Rush, which starts on Aug. 16. Classes for the fall 2022 semester are scheduled to start Aug. 22.

As Indiana’s land-grant institution, Purdue is committed to and frequently honored for providing higher education at the highest proven value, including its 11-year tuition freeze, which has put the total cost of attendance today lower than in 2012-13. The tuition freeze has also saved students and families more than $1 billion in tuition costs. Purdue is continually ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s Most Innovative schools, as well as having high rankings in engineering, science and numerous other disciplines. In 2021, Purdue was the only university named to Fast Company’s “Brands That Matter” list.

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