WEST LAFAYETTE – With a record 43,411 students enrolled at Purdue University for the fall 2018 semester – 4.4 percent more than any semester in the school’s 150-year history and up 11.9 percent since 2014 – President Mitch Daniels told faculty leaders Monday that he wasn’t sure how long the university could sustain that sort of growth.
“That line can’t go up forever,” Daniels told the University Senate, as he previewed for professors the annual student headcount that was minutes away from release on the West Lafayette campus.
“But when the higher education community, at large, has shrunk seven years in a row,” Daniels said, “this is not the worst problem a university can have.”
With a record freshman class helping push Purdue to an enrollment record, a campus census released Monday showed Purdue had an additional 1,838 students than the fall 2017. The fall 2017 enrollment of 41,573 had been the record for the West Lafayette campus.
Of those enrolled this semester, 32,672 are undergraduates, which also is a record for Purdue.
Answering a question from professors about Purdue’s extended tuition freeze – a calling card for Daniels since he arrived on campus in January 2013 – the president gave his pat answer: As long as Purdue could maintain an annual surplus, while also giving raises, adding faculty and facilities as necessary and improving academic results, his administration’s philosophy was that student fees would stay flat.