Purdue University is reporting record-high retention and graduation rates. The school says the academic credentials of its freshman class are also at all-time highs.

September 22, 2014

News Release

West Lafayette, Ind. — Purdue is seeing record-high retention and graduation rates thanks to a university-wide commitment to student success.

The first-year retention rate is at 92.6 percent compared to 91 percent to last year, and the second-year retention rate is 86.1 percent, up from last year's 84.3 percent. Both the four-year and six-year graduation rates increased to 49.2 percent and 73.8 percent from 46.8 percent and 70.7 percent, respectively. This also is the eighth consecutive year that first-year students have posted an increase in test scores and preparedness.

“The high expectations that students arrive with are matched with the student support they receive from the day they get to campus to the day they graduate, and because of this Purdue is clearly in demand,” said university President Mitch Daniels. “Staff and faculty throughout campus deserve great credit for innovations in both teaching and student support services that are resulting in these markedly higher success rates.”

More specifically, credit goes to the offices of Admissions and International Students and Scholars, as well as college recruiters and financial aid staff for recruiting and enrolling students who are prepared for Purdue’s academic rigors and eager to take advantage of resources and opportunities. Also part of this success are the academic advisers and staff who coordinate orientation and transition programs, learning communities and academic support programs, and faculty whose teaching and mentoring is student-centered.

“Purdue's commitment to student resources is supporting a year-round culture of student success,” said Debasish “Deba” Dutta, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue. “Higher-caliber students leads to graduating on time, and graduating on time leads to affordability.”

The academic credentials of the first-year class represent all-time highs in test scores and grade point averages. The class average SAT scores increased 16 points to a combined 1789 on the critical reading, math and writing sections. In eight years, the cumulative point gain for students' SAT scores is 105.

This follows an increase of 16 points last year and 40 points in 2012. The average ACT score increased to 27.5 from 27.2 last year. The average high school grade point average of the first-year class is 3.72, which is up from 3.70 in 2013.

The 6,373 first-year students include 3,300 Indiana residents, 1,937 U.S. nonresidents and 1,136 international students.

“These top students are expected to work hard at Purdue, and we especially urge them to participate in high-impact activities such as study abroad, internships and undergraduate research,” said Pamela T. Horne, associate vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admissions. “The results of the Gallup-Purdue Index demonstrate that participation in highly engaging activities with faculty and staff mentors as well as their peers is strongly associated with career and life satisfaction. Purdue's high-impact opportunities help us to attract great students who are proactive learners.”

The GPI is a nationally recognized survey gauging the well-being of more than 30,000 college graduates. Initial results were issued in May.

One program that continues to attract some of Purdue’s highest achieving students is the Honors College. More than 480 new students enrolled this year.

The total estimated system enrollment – which includes West Lafayette, Purdue Calumet, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, select programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue North Central and the Statewide Technology Program – is 74,416. Indiana residents make up 66.8 percent of students in the Purdue system.

Statewide campus enrollment totals include:

* West Lafayette, 38,770

* Purdue Calumet, 9,501

* Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, 13,214

* Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 5,767 enrolled in Purdue programs

* Purdue North Central, 6,177

* Statewide Technology, 987 College of Technology degrees are offered in Anderson, Columbus/Greensburg, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Vincennes.

“We want learning from and with students from diverse cultures to be part of every undergraduate's experience,” said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs.

“The Office of International Programs now offers the Multinational Integration Xchange (MIX), which partners current Purdue students with new international students. Between MIX and the two orientation programs – Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) and Boiler Gold Rush International (BGRi) – nearly 90 percent of the international freshman class was matched with an American student. We hope that this result is the beginning of greater interaction between international and American students.”

The number of Graduate School students is 8,568, which is 161 more than last year's 8,407.

“Interest in Purdue's graduate programs, especially in engineering and science, mirrors the nation's trend of increased interest in graduate school, which is the result of the current economy and advanced job opportunities,” said Mark J.T. Smith, dean of the Graduate School.

In addition, another 947 students are enrolled in professional programs (Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy).

Other West Lafayette campus enrollment highlights include:

* Applications received: 39,706

* Ethnicity: Black or African-American, 1,186; Asian, 2,057; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 30; Hispanic/Latino, 1,540; American Indian/Alaska Native, 55; and two or more races, 758. Underrepresented minorities is up 50 to 3,219 from last year’s 3,169.

* Total undergraduates: 29,255

* Undergraduate residency: Indiana students; 16,177; U.S. non-Indiana students, 7,827; and international students, 5,251

* Incoming transfer students: 586

* Gender: Women 16,366; men 22,404

Source: Purdue University

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