More than 30,000 students are attending IUPUI this fall, thus setting an enrollment record that breaks through a barrier the campus has flirted with for years. Last year, 29,854 students attended IUPUI. This year, it’s up to 30,300!
Pushing past the 30,000 mark signals our growing reputation among urban research universities. More students are coming from outside the Indianapolis region. Nearly a third are from other parts of Indiana and other states. The 2008 student body includes about 27,000 students from Indiana, students from all 50 states, and more than 1,300 international students from 122 countries.
Our record-breaking numbers cut across all categories. This includes an increase in the number of credit hours (for the 13th consecutive year), which means we have more full-time students. Enrollment is at record highs in graduate and professional programs (full-time and part-time) and among foreign and out-of-state students.
It's not just about quantity. With this fall’s enrollment, IUPUI has achieved a number of record highs. The freshman class shows significant improvement in average high school GPA, class rank, and SAT score. The average SAT score rose by 15 points. While attracting better-prepared students, we also have one of our most diverse entering classes. Some 15.7 percent of our freshmen are from underrepresented groups, and 54 percent of the total are first-generation college-goers.
IUPUI has always been committed to helping those who would otherwise not go to college. Beginning this fall, IUPUI used two new grants, the IUPUI 21st Century Scholar and the IUPUI Pell Pledge grants, to increase the level of financial need-based aid at IUPUI and help fill the shortfall between the amount students receive from state and federal programs and the cost of attending IUPUI. The $2.1 million annual commitment is the largest for need-based aid in our history.
If we are to have more college graduates in Indiana and if our graduates are to be fully prepared for a global economy, the number, quality, and diversity of our students must be an integral part of the educational experience at IUPUI.
To add to our sense of pride and fulfillment at the beginning of this record-breaking fall semester, U.S. News & World Report ranked IUPUI 14th among 70 “up-and-coming schools” in the U.S. that everyone should be watching.
In gathering information for its 2008 college rankings issue, U.S. News, for the first time, asked college presidents responding to its annual peer assessment survey to identify schools that have made “striking improvements or innovations.”
U.S. News placed the 70 institutions receiving the most nominations on the list. According to the magazine, IUPUI and the other institutions are “firmly focused on improving the job they're doing today—at least in the judgment of their peers.”
Especially interesting is the group of institutions with which we are ranked at 14th: University of California—Irvine, University of California—San Diego, University of South Florida, and Ohio State University.
Under “Programs to Look For,” IUPUI was again recognized for outstanding programs commonly linked to student success—first-year experience, learning communities, and service learning—a distinction earned several years running.
IUPUI also made the first annual Forbes.com list of the top 15 percent of America’s best colleges. From a field of more than 4,000 undergraduate institutions, 596 colleges were selected and ranked. IUPUI placed 448.
According to Forbes.com, the methodology was designed to determine: How good will my professors be? Will the school help me achieve notable career success? If I have to borrow, how deeply will I go into debt? What are the chances I will graduate in four years? Are students and faculty recognized nationally, or even globally?
Whatever their limitations, these rankings serve to reinforce my impression that IUPUI has the attention of a growing number of people in higher education. We have has become a “school to watch” because our faculty focus on transforming lives through learning. Their willingness to be creative with teaching strategies, to be innovative in research, and to engage the community in finding solutions ultimately has created a cascade of impact that influences opinion-makers.
As you see, IUPUI is off to a great start this fall! Stay tuned for more.
Charles R. Bantz