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The Journal Gazette

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Friday, September 07, 2018 1:00 am

Enrollment increases after IPFW splits in 2

'We did the impossible,' chancellor says of result

RON SHAWGO | The Journal Gazette

Total enrollment is up at the two schools that made up IPFW, largely due to more high school students taking classes at the new Purdue University Fort Wayne.

School officials Thursday were also touting a rise in credit hours at Purdue Fort Wayne, which took over the bulk of programs when Purdue and Indiana universities began administering separate schools on campus July 1. Purdue Fort Wayne credit hours, not including high school students, total 101,091 this semester compared with 99,477 as IPFW last fall, said Carl Drummond, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management.

“That for us is the message, that we have managed to cover the loss of some of those IU students by growing our own freshman class,” he said.

This year Purdue and IU officially ended their decadeslong management agreement to jointly run IPFW. Indiana Fort Wayne handles all health science programs while Purdue Fort Wayne administers all other programs.

With combined enrollments of 10,578, Purdue Fort Wayne and Indiana Fort Wayne reported a 1.6 percent increase over fall 2017, according to school figures. Without dual-credit high school students, total enrollment declined by 26 students to 8,278. Broken down, that's 7,839 Purdue Fort Wayne students and 439 Indiana Fort Wayne students.

There are also 126 Indiana Fort Wayne graduate students not included in that count, Ann Obergfell, Indiana Fort Wayne's associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and operations, said in an email.

Because of the IPFW split, counting students and credit hours is complex, Drummond said. Some current health science students are still on the Purdue Fort Wayne side as they seek graduation through a “teach out.” As part of the realignment, many credit hours transferred to IU, and all incoming IU students are taking general education classes through Purdue Fort Wayne.

“We feel very confident that next year will be better because we did the impossible,” Drummond said. “We recruited students to a university that didn't exist, and I feel really good about that.”

Purdue Fort Wayne was celebrating its enrollment of students new to the school.

A total of 2,314 new undergraduates enrolled for fall semester, compared with 1,963 in fall 2017. And there are 151 new graduate students, compared to 126 last year, the school said in a news release.

“We set some very high enrollment goals going into our inaugural academic year as Purdue University Fort Wayne,” Chancellor Ronald L. Elsenbaumer said in the release. “I'm thrilled that we not only met those goals, but exceeded them.”

The school attributes the increase to “a new financial aid strategy that broadened the distribution of aid to beginner and transfer students who qualify, an aggressive recruitment strategy that included more personal calls and getting admissions professionals into more schools, a streamlined graduate admissions process that reduced the time it takes to apply, a banded tuition model to support full-time undergraduate students, and a new branding and marketing strategy that significantly increased Purdue Fort Wayne's visibility and online presence.”