sealPurdue News

August 27, 2002

Purdue freshman quality, diversity up; enrollment plan on target

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University today (Tuesday, 8/27) reported significant progress in its enrollment management plan of increasing graduate enrollment and continuing to level undergraduate enrollment at its West Lafayette campus while increasing the overall academic quality and diversity of the freshman class.

At West Lafayette, there are 38,564 students on campus this fall. Undergraduate enrollment is 30,908, and the incoming freshman class has 315 fewer students by design. Enrollment in graduate and professional programs increased by 435 to 7,656 as part of the overall enrollment plan.

Enrollment at all Purdue campuses is estimated at 68,727, 75 percent of which are Indiana residents. Systemwide Purdue enrollment was 67,548 a year ago, said Douglas L. Christiansen, assistant vice president for enrollment services.

"We are right on target with our enrollment," Christiansen said. "Several years ago we reached the undergraduate capacity on the West Lafayette campus and have been working to meet the growing demand by coordinating with our regional campuses and helping make sure students are aware of all the educational options available within the Purdue system."

Christiansen said applications on the West Lafayette campus were up 5 percent from last fall and up 46 percent since 1994.

The fall 2002 freshman class continues a trend of being better prepared academically, Christiansen said. The average SAT score for an incoming student is 1150, up 16 points from last year, and a 55-point increase from six years ago.

The new freshman class has 88 students who are National Merit Scholars, an increase of 14 students from the previous class and up 34 from two years ago.

Two Purdue scholarship programs also helped attract additional high-caliber students:

• Academic Success Scholars, for students who scored at least 1360 on the SAT and were in the top 5 percent of their high school class. This year's entering class includes 369 new Academic Success Scholars, an increase of almost 12 percent over last year.

• The Indiana Resident Top Scholars program enrolled 137 students in the program's second year. Students are selected for this scholarship based on high school class rank, test scores, Indiana residency and other academic distinctions.

The incoming freshman class is the most diverse in recent history, Christiansen said. More than 890 of the new students have identified themselves as African-American, American Indian, Asian American or Hispanic. There are 24 percent more ethnic minority students among the freshmen than a year ago.

In line with the university's undergraduate enrollment plan, the number of first-time students at Purdue's West Lafayette campus has been lowered deliberately. There are 6,555 freshman enrolled this fall compared with a peak of 7,341 in the fall of 1999.

This enrollment management plan calls for making a Purdue education available to qualified students without overtaxing the resources of the West Lafayette campus or the community. Special attention is paid to undergraduate enrollment because these students are heavy users of those resources, Christiansen said. Graduate enrollment, on the other hand, is less of a concern because many graduate students are engaged in active research projects, assist in attracting research funding and help to teach classes which, in turn, supports the undergraduate mission.

Although the West Lafayette campus is at capacity, other Purdue campuses have the ability to serve additional full-time and part-time students. The other campuses provide opportunities for Indiana residents to earn their Purdue education, Christiansen said.

Enrollment in Purdue's graduate and professional program is up for several reasons, said Gary Isom, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school.

"We've seen increased interest in our graduate programs, particularly among domestic students," Isom said. "The economic climate is encouraging some American students to start or continue their education.

"Also, our research programs are expanding into some new and exciting areas, especially interdisciplinary research such as nanotechnology and biotechnology. Graduate students are deeply involved in all our research, so as we expand our research, we attract more graduate students."

Registration at several Purdue campuses is continuing this week. Other campus enrollment estimates are:

• Purdue Calumet – 9,112, compared with last fall's 9,103.

• Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne – 6,278 students in Indiana University programs and about 5,207 students in Purdue programs. A total of 6,098 IU students and 5,030 Purdue students were enrolled at Fort Wayne last fall.

• Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis – 4,276, compared with 3,942 last year.

• Purdue North Central – 3,657 students, compared with 3,493 a year ago.

• School of Technology Statewide Delivery System – 1,623 students, down from 1,661 a year ago. School of Technology classes are taught in Anderson, Columbus, Elkhart, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Muncie, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Versailles.

• West Lafayette Extension programs – 10 students.

The undergraduate enrollment breakdown at the West Lafayette campus by school is:

• Agriculture – 2,425.
• Consumer and Family Sciences – 1,926.
• Education – 1,232.
• Engineering – 6,312.
• Liberal Arts – 6,124.
• Management – 2,531.
• Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences – 1,722.
• Science – 2,904.
• Technology – 4,257.
• Veterinary Medicine – 223.
• Undergraduate Studies (programs for students who have not decided on a major) – 809.
• Non-degree students – 443.

Writer: J. Michael Willis, (765) 494-0371;

Sources: Douglas Christiansen,

Gary Isom,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page