WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue President Mitch Daniels built his argument about reopening West Lafayette campus, in part, on a premise that there was a big demand from students who were ready to return or to enroll as freshmen.

On Monday, Daniels unveiled record enrollment numbers for freshmen, for undergraduates and an overall enrollment of 46,114 for the fall 2020 semester – which is 1,563, or 3.5 percent, more students than in a then-record-setting fall 2019.

Of those, just shy of 90 percent of those students were taking some form of in-person courses as Purdue navigates holding classes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Daniels signaled early on – within weeks of the campus all but emptying in March as a COVID-19 precaution – that Purdue was prepared to take in a larger student body at a time when enrollment projects on campuses across the country weren’t sure. Over the summer, Daniels made national headlines with predictions that Purdue could reopen safely and that deposits on fall 2020 semester tuition showed students were willing to come to campus.

Even then, Daniels told faculty that numbers were more than expected.
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