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A decade of affordability: Purdue leads the way, saving students and families $1 billion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Innovative. Respected. Highly valued. Affordable. All considered nearly synonymous with Purdue University.

While one of the fastest growing costs over the past decade has been that of higher education, one institution — Purdue — has held the line since 2012-13.

Thanks to bold and innovative moves like the 11-year commitment to no tuition or fee increases and a decrease in room and board rates, Purdue students and their families have collectively saved more than a billion dollars since 2012-13, and 60,000 students — eight graduating classes — will have never experienced a tuition increase during their time at Purdue.

“Our first year of a tuition freeze was intended as simply a statement that we were serious about affordability,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “We were not even sure of a second year and would not have dared to imagine keeping it in place for a decade. But the Purdue family has embraced affordability and we all can see the impact it has had on our students.”

Daniels provided updates Friday (April 8) as part of his annual report on affordability to Purdue’s Board of Trustees. His slides can be found here.

Resident tuition and fees continue to be $9,992, and room and board $9,414 for a total of $19,406 per year. If Purdue had raised rates at the Big Ten average, students would have paid $25,284 – a difference of $5,878 per year. When added up over four years, the savings amount to nearly $24,000, essentially allowing students to get four years for the price of three.

Surveys have shown that families and students have responded positively to Purdue’s commitment to affordability with increasing applications and enrollment growth of 21% since 2016 – setting a record in the fall 2021 semester of nearly 50,000 students at the West Lafayette campus.

The value of a Purdue degree also continues to set records – with a higher average starting pay for new grads, a continually stellar reputation from employers, and a best in the Big Ten ranking for value from The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Transformative educational experiences, including hands-on undergraduate research, student engagement through more than 1,000 student organizations, and high rankings in engineering, science and numerous disciplines, have found the university named as a Top 10 Most Innovative School for four consecutive years by US News & World Report. Purdue also received one of its highest accolades in 2021— being the only university named to Fast Company’s “Brands That Matter” list.

While students have benefited from affordability measures, Purdue faculty and staff have seen a workforce of annual salary increases, including today’s announcement of an investment of $50 million to implement a 4% salary pool and an additional 1% for market and adjustments, the largest increase in more than 20 years. With the exception of the pandemic year of 2020, Purdue has offered a merit increase at the West Lafayette campus every year since 2010, with increases over the past six years ranging 2.5%-3.5%.

With the average borrower nationwide carrying nearly $40,000 in student loan debt, Purdue students are taking their first steps as graduates without being so burdened. Of the 2021 graduating class, 60% graduated from Purdue debt-free, far above the 45% national average. The average debt per Purdue student in 2021 was $3,389, down from more than $5,400 in 2021. Loan default rates were 1.7% in 2018, more than three times lower than the national four-year public university rate.

Other key figures:

  • Today’s freshmen were in third grade when Purdue last announced a tuition hike.
  • Indiana residents continue to pay less than $10,000 per year in tuition.
  • The average Big Ten room and board rate has risen 35% since 2012-13. Purdue’s has dropped 3%.
  • The Big Ten mean tuition and fee increase from 2012-13 through 2020-21 is 22% for residents and 33% for nonresidents. Purdue remains unchanged.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by US News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.

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