Keeping the doors to higher education wide open

Our land-grant mission starts from the premise that the life-changing benefits of higher education must be open to all who are ready and able to meet its standards and requirements, regardless of income or social status. Rather than any notion that our role is to “weed out” weaker students, it seems most consistent with our duty as a land-grant institution to seek a larger student body while remaining totally committed to maintaining our proudly earned reputation for rigor and quality.


  • Pursue a larger freshman class — at least 6,800 in Fall 2015 — with the expectation of higher targets in subsequent years.
  • Increase scholarship offerings to ensure educational opportunities for students across a broad range of academic pursuits and financial needs.
  • Expand financial literacy training for students.
  • Pursue alternative financial aid routes, providing students more options for funding their education.
  • Reduce student and parent borrowing.
  • Provide the absolute highest value in higher education.


  • Purdue's fall 2016 freshman class, comprising 7,243 new Boilermakers, was the largest in recent history, up roughly 370 students from fall 2015. More than 48,000 students applied to Purdue for the 2016-17 academic year, a university record.
    • With 3,809 Indiana residents among its ranks, an increase of 266 over the previous year, the 2016 freshman class had the highest number of Hoosier students since 2009.
    • The fall 2016 freshman class was also Purdue's most diverse class ever. Minority enrollment was up 17 percent over the fall 2015 freshman cohort.
  • With 40,451 total students enrolled at Purdue's West Lafayette campus in fall 2016, this was Purdue's largest enrollment ever.
  • In summer 2016, Purdue piloted an innovative Summer Start program in which freshmen on the cusp of Purdue's admissions criteria, who might otherwise not have been admitted to Purdue, are admitted on the condition that they come to campus five weeks before the start of the fall semester for a five-week program that gives them a head start on their college career. During Summer Start, students get familiar with campus, professors, other students and the routine of college living, and earn a few credits.
    • The 2016 Summer Start cohort consisted of 180 freshmen.
    • At the conclusion of the 2016 Summer Start program, participating students earned an average 3.3 GPA. Eighty percent also earned a fall 2016 scholarship for high GPAs and completion of digital badges. Summer Start students will be coached year-round by Purdue Promise.
    • In 2017, Purdue piloted the option for freshmen to voluntarily join Summer Start to get a jump-start on their education ahead of the fall semester. 75 students participated in the pilot program.
  • A record-high $70.3 million was raised for student support during fiscal year 2016, up from the previous year's record of $67.7 million. This brings the total raised for student support during Ever True: The Campaign for Purdue University to more than $230 million.
  • More than $6 million has been raised through private giving for endowed scholarships through the Purdue Affordability Scholarship Challenge.
  • We have doubled the value of the Marquis scholarship, which is available to middle-income Indiana residents, from $2,000 to $4,000 without reducing the number of available awards.
  • Beginning August 2015, financial literacy training was incorporated into the programming for Boiler Gold Rush, our freshman orientation program.
  • Purdue's financial aid award letters have been reformatted to communicate more precisely how much students will need to come up with to pay for their education after grants and scholarships. We now also provide all students with a payment plan scenario before they borrow, so that they better understand how much they will really owe in the end.
  • Purdue student and parent borrowing is down 30 percent since 2012, leaving students and their families some $55 million to invest in other dreams.
  • The average loan default rate for Purdue students is less than half that of the national average for four-year public universities (2.8 percent for Purdue students vs. 7.6 percent nationally). For Purdue graduates, that number is even smaller at just 1 percent.
  • Purdue is leading a national conversation on alternative higher education funding options for some students, including the idea of income share agreements. President Daniels has testified before Congress on this topic twice, urging them to open the legal doors for Purdue to explore ideas such as income share agreements.
  • In fall 2016, Purdue became the first major U.S. research university to offer income share agreements to its students through its innovative.
  • Back a Boiler program, allows students to "work their way through school once they're out of school".
  • About 160 Purdue juniors and seniors representing 70+ unique majors participated in Back a Boiler program in fall 2016, equal to more than 10 percent of Purdue's private student loan volume for the student population eligible for Back a Boiler.
  • A total of $2.2 million was disbursed to students through Back a Boiler during the 2016-17 academic year, with an average amount of $14,000 per student, with payment terms ranging from seven to 10 years, including a six-month grace period after graduation.
  • Following its inagural year, the Purdue Research Foundation expanded Back a Boiler by offering it to students enrolled over the 2017 summer session and making it available to sophomores in fall 2017.

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