seal  Purdue News

September 3, 2003

Purdue enrollment plan on target as graduate school grows

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University today (Wednesday, 9/3) reported that it has met this year's strategic enrollment management goals: The number of graduate students continues to climb while the undergraduate community includes more top-performing Indiana high school graduates.

Enrollment at the West Lafayette campus this fall is 38,847 students. Undergraduate enrollment is 30,851, while 7,996 students are enrolled in graduate and professional programs. There are 57 fewer undergraduates, in accordance with the university's enrollment management plan. Graduate school enrollment increased for the sixth consecutive year.

Enrollment this fall at all Purdue campuses is estimated at 69,050, compared to systemwide enrollment of 68,637 a year ago.

A major focus of the enrollment management plan is to recruit top Indiana students, give them the support to be successful at Purdue, and prepare them to help lead Indiana's economic development.

"We have some of the best students from Indiana choosing to attend Purdue," said Douglas L. Christiansen, assistant vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions.

There are 229 first-time students from Indiana who qualified for Purdue's Academic Success Awards Program, a 19 percent increase from a year ago, and 171 Indiana Resident Top Scholars, a 25 percent increase over last year.

The Academic Success Awards Program is for Indiana students who scored at least a 1360 on the SAT and were in the top 5 percent of their high school class. The Indiana Resident Top Scholars program is a competitive scholarship based on high school class rank, test scores, Indiana residency and other academic distinctions.

The 91 National Merit Scholars among the freshman class breaks a record for the fourth straight year. Nineteen more high school valedictorians, a total of 202, have enrolled at Purdue this fall. The average student among the incoming freshmen has an SAT score of 1150 and ranked in the top 23 percent of his or her graduating class. Seventy percent of the new freshmen ranked in the top 30 percent of their high school graduating class.

The diversity of this year's incoming freshman class has maintained the significant increases of last year's entering class, Christiansen said. African-American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American students make up about 13 percent of the first-year students. From 1998 to 2001, ethnic groups made up less than 10 percent of the freshman class.

"We are especially pleased with our recruitment efforts among African-American students," Christiansen said. "The number of new students in the group is up 15.85 percent on top of the 10 percent increase from a year ago."

The growth in the Graduate School reflects Purdue's reputation and its efforts to attract more students, said John Contreni, interim dean of the Graduate School.

"We polled this year's incoming graduate students and learned that the reputation of Purdue's graduate programs was the No. 1 reason they chose Purdue. The second reason was the accessibility of Purdue faculty and staff during the application process," Contreni said.

"Although the tight job market undoubtedly affected some students' plans to continue their education beyond the bachelor's degree, the number of graduate students on the West Lafayette campus has steadily climbed by almost 1,000 students, more than 16 percent over the last six years.

"What is new this year is a slight drop in the number of international students admitted and an increase in the number of domestic admitted students. Overall, we are beginning to see the results of more and more departments taking proactive measures to recruit top students."

Contreni said Purdue is expanding its graduate student enrollment by offering new academic programs, such as interdisciplinary programs in the life sciences, information security and nanotechnology. Graduate students also are critical to supporting Purdue's strategic goal of adding 300 more faculty, who will need graduate research assistants.

While Purdue is attracting more U.S. graduate students, the number of first-time international students is off 32 in the undergraduate schools and approximately 200 in graduate and professional programs.

Michael Brzezinski, director of International Students and Scholars, said the war in Iraq and new federal regulations for international students contributed to this decline.

"There have been fewer students from other countries applying to U.S. schools in general because they believe it is too difficult to obtain a student visa," Brzezinski said. "The student visa application process is indeed more cumbersome and lengthy, but it is not insurmountable. Our proactive planning led to approximately 1,000 new students from abroad enrolling this semester."

For the past three years, Purdue has been actively managing the undergraduate enrollment while encouraging strategic growth in the Graduate School to make a Purdue education available to qualified students without overtaxing the university's educational resources, Christiansen said.

"We accept as many undergraduates as resources allow," he said. "But we manage the number to make sure we have the faculty and classrooms available to ensure a quality education."

Although the West Lafayette campus is at capacity for undergraduates, 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.

Registration at most other Purdue campuses has concluded. Other campus enrollment numbers are:

• Purdue Calumet – 9,129, compared with last fall's 8,863.

• Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne – 6,414 students in Indiana University programs and 5,392 students in Purdue programs. A total of 6,464 IU students and 5,291 Purdue students were enrolled at Fort Wayne last fall.

• Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis – 4,264, compared with 4,245 last year.

• Purdue North Central – estimated at 3,469 students, compared with 3,657 a year ago.

• School of Technology Statewide Delivery System – estimated at 1,533 students, compared with 1,553 a year ago. School of Technology classes are taught in Anderson, Columbus/SouthEast Indiana, Elkhart, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Muncie, New Albany, Richmond and South Bend.

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

• Agriculture – 2,391.

• Consumer and Family Sciences – 1,953.

• Education – 1,100.

• Engineering – 6,434.

• Liberal Arts – 6,185.

• Management – 2,537.

• Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences – 1,810.

• Science – 2,804.

• Technology – 4,123.

• Veterinary Medicine – 272.

• Undergraduate Studies (programs for students who have not decided on a major) – 843.

• Non-degree students – 399.

Two-thirds of the West Lafayette undergraduate students are from Indiana, 59 percent are male.

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

Sources: Douglas L. Christiansen, (765) 494-7014 ;

John Contreni, (765) 494-2600;

Michael Brzezinski, (765) 494-5770;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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