From the Vice Provost

Kristina Wong Davis

Keeping Student Costs Flat – Seven Years Running

A few weeks ago, Purdue announced it will extend its tuition freeze for a seventh consecutive year. Tuition has been frozen and other costs (housing, food, books) have been reduced to a point at which students will pay less to attend Purdue in 2020 than they did in 2012.

In 2013, his first year in office, Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced a tuition freeze, describing it at the time as a one-year timeout to give families a break. The one-year break has turned into a sustained hiatus. According to Daniels, “As long as we are balancing our operating budget, growing our faculty, investing in necessary capital projects, increasing staff compensation competitively, all without tapping our cash reserves, why would we raise tuition?”

Based on average increases at other Big Ten institutions, Purdue’s flat tuition will have saved families an estimated $465 million by 2019. Had Purdue raised tuition by the national average of four-year public institutions during this time, Indiana residents would be paying $1,400 more per year and non-residents would be paying $5,560 more per year. An additional benefit – the percentage of Purdue undergraduates who graduate debt-free has increased steadily, reaching 59 percent, compared to 40 percent at other four-year public universities.

Purdue has been able to defer tuition increases through cost cutting, operational efficiencies and increased enrollment. This fall, we expect to welcome our largest freshman class ever. While we had planned for a slightly larger class, an unexpectedly higher yield rate (possibly because of multiple years of frozen tuition) will make this class larger than anticipated.

And though enrollment has increased, the quality of the student experience has not diminished. The number of tenure-track faculty is up, capital improvements are visible across campus and the measures we use to track graduate success (career and grad school placement) are as strong as ever. Within days of this year’s May 1 admission acceptance deadline, when the size of the class was projected, President Daniels met with senior leadership and immediately authorized additional resources to ensure that we meet or exceed the expectations of our newest students.

Back when the first tuition freeze was announced President Daniels said, “At Purdue, we will make our first goal affordability, accommodating our spending to students’ budgets and not the other way around.” I’m pleased to let you know we’re keeping our word.

To those of you heading into a much-deserved summer break – enjoy!

Kind regards,

Kris Wong Davis

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