Student management

Purdue sets all-time student enrollment record at West Lafayette

Ongoing Commitment to Affordability, High Applicant Count Drives Enrollment

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Having grown up in Indianapolis, Victor Chukwuocha dreamed of becoming an engineer and entrepreneur.

Chukwuocha and the more than 50,000 students at Purdue University this year who are consistently pursuing a Purdue education have been influenced and shaped by several strategic decisions made by Purdue’s Board of Trustees and Chairman Mitch Daniels.

One such decision that most directly impacted Chukwuocha’s dream was Daniels’ announcement in 2016 of his intention to create a network of Purdue polytechnic high schools across the state. Schools would recruit and prepare students from areas such as Indianapolis that struggle to produce graduates ready and interested in a Purdue education. The number of new students coming to Purdue from the entire Indianapolis public school system in 2016 was just 12, and only five of them were black. Including PPHS, IPS now sends 35 more students to Purdue each year, and Chukwuocha is one of nearly 60 PPHS students in the public charter school’s first two graduating classes currently attending Purdue.

Another decision was to expand the university – both in strategic academic areas and in student enrollment. Paraphrasing another academic leader, Daniels said in 2015, “We should not seek to be known by the number of rejections, but by the number of rejections. What happened was a rapid expansion in enrollment and an increase in the number of Indiana residents being offered admission to Purdue by about 350 more per year, and the number accepting that offer and enrollment at Purdue has reached new heights.

Victor Chukwuocha, a Purdue freshman from Indianapolis, is majoring in integrated business and engineering. (Photo Purdue University/John Underwood) Download image

Chukwuocha is part of the largest student body in the history of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. This fall, total enrollment reached a record 50,884 students – just ahead of last year’s 49,639 students – and marked the university’s eighth consecutive record. This includes 37,949 undergraduate students – also a record. The incoming freshman class is 9,354, still one of Purdue’s largest but smaller than last year’s record of 10,191, by intention.

Purdue admissions officers and recruiters have ensured this growth without diminishing incoming Boilermaker readiness. Purdue received 68,309 applications for fall 2022, 28,284 more than in 2014, when Purdue moved to common application, and 37,093 more than when Daniels arrived. The average incoming student in Fall 2022 had a GPA of 3.74, an average SAT total of 1317, and an average ACT composite of 29.8. New students admitted had an average SAT and ACT disclosure rate of 82.4%.

Purdue’s commitment to affordability, evidenced by 11 years of frozen tuition and savings of more than $1 billion for families since 2012-13, has played a pivotal role. But investments in quality have also been key, as has the growing national profile as the top national university.

To keep pace with enrollment growth, Purdue has added more student housing and expanded the faculty each year, with 213 faculty hired this fall, the largest hiring slate in university history.

In addition to growing numbers of enrollees from across the country, evidence of Purdue’s enhanced national profile includes being the only university named a “Brand That Matters” by Fast Company magazine, a #4 ranking as the nation’s most trusted public university, and a top 3 ranking as a university that protects free speech and open inquiry. U.S. News & World Report also ranks Purdue among the most innovative schools in the nation, in addition to ranking many academic programs top.

Even with the national spotlight, Purdue continues to serve Indiana students. In fact, almost every Indiana resident who applied received an offer to enroll somewhere in the Purdue system, and more than 75% were offered a place at West Lafayette.

Purdue’s minority enrollment continues to grow, with 4,326 underrepresented minority undergraduates representing 12.8% of national enrollment. 10,108, or 30%, of domestic undergraduate students are American minorities, which include Asian American students. This is a 13.6% increase from 4,140 registered in 2012.

Purdue Polytechnic high schools, like the one Chukwuocha attended in eastern Indianapolis, are intended to recruit and prepare underrepresented students. PPHS now enrolls more than 1,000 students at three sites, with a fourth site planned. To further diversify Purdue, the university is also working with the Posse Foundation, which helped bring 11 students from northwest and northern Indiana to Purdue in this first year of collaboration.

Another Purdue goal is to increase the number of degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. In 2022, 71% of undergraduate degree graduates earned a STEM degree, up from 44% in 2010. Along with the growth in enrollment, Purdue has also seen growth in the number of degrees awarded, with the largest increase in number of baccalaureate degrees. In 2012-13, Purdue conferred 9,704 degrees. In 2021-22, Purdue conferred 12,943 degrees.

Purdue Global, the university’s accredited and affordable online solution designed for working adults with life experience and often college credit but no degree, reported enrollment of 34,246 for September 2022.

Other highlights of enrolling at the West Lafayette campus are:

Graduate enrollment: 12,017, including 3,612 online only, surpassing last year’s record of 11,613.

Registrations in professional license: 918.

Undergraduate residency: Indiana students, 17,964; non-Indian American students, 15,773; and international students, 4,212.

Total enrollment by gender: female, 21,634; men, 29,250.

Total enrollment by ethnicity: Black or African American, 1,350; Asian, 5,747; Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 23; Hispanic/Latino, 3,203; Native American/Alaska Native, 61; and two or more runs, 2,023.

Total enrollment in West Lafayette: 50,884.

Statewide Polytechnic: 645. Purdue Polytechnic Institute degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend, and Vincennes.

Statements from Purdue officials regarding enrollment numbers:

Kristina Wong Davis, VP of Enrollment Management

“We are delighted to welcome this record number of students to campus this year. With over 100,000 students across the Purdue system and including Purdue Global, demand is always strong for a Purdue education. The number of applicants to our programs continues to grow year after year. Additionally, some of our other efforts through the Early Outreach Coordinators ensure that Purdue’s profile remains a priority for talented young students.

Jay Akridge, Provost of Purdue and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity

“Our fall 2022 enrollment is a clear demonstration that students and their families view Purdue as an exceptional educational value. Our commitments to exceptional teaching and experiential education and the resulting nationally ranked programs, combined with our commitment to affordable and accessible education, are bringing in record numbers at West Lafayette. And the most exciting part is thinking about the mark these Boilermakers will leave on our world after graduating here.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a leading public research institution that develops practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the past five years as one of the 10 most innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers groundbreaking research and breakthrough discoveries. Committed to hands-on, online, real-world learning, Purdue provides transformative education for all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, allowing more students than ever to graduate debt-free. Learn how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.

Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), [email protected], @mo_oates

Sources: Kris Wong Davis, [email protected]

Jay Akridge, [email protected]