IUPUI has experienced a notable shift in the composition of the student body over the past fifteen years or so, though overall numbers have increased only slightly. The Fall 2013 official headcount is one of the highest on record at 30,488 (including 1,732 at the regional center in Columbus, Indiana), representing all 50 states and 140 countries. Of the total, approximately 23,000 are undergraduates, most seeking a bachelor’s degree. More students are in the traditional 18-22 years age demographic, with more attending full-time—71 percent of all students, compared with 50 percent in 1996, and 88 percent of freshmen. Thirty-five percent of all beginners are the first in their families to attend college, down from approximately half less than a decade ago, and 26 percent are minorities, up from 16 percent in a similar period.
Average SATs and high-school GPAs continue to rise every year: the percentage of new students from the top ten percent of their high school graduating class has doubled, and the percentage from the top quartile has increased by almost two-thirds. From being a fall-back option for students in central Indiana, IUPUI is now a first choice for many. Our variety of interdisciplinary, 21st century degree programs such as motorsports engineering, philanthropic studies, civic leadership, energy engineering, media and public affairs, neuroscience, sports management, music technology, and sustainability management and policy are attracting more and more students from across the country and around the world.
IUPUI works hard to overcome the challenges of a heavy commuter base, though on-campus housing now serves some 2,000 students. Increased residential capacity allows us to offer fourteen residential learning communities, while the Division of Student Affairs has doubled the number of student organizations over the past decade to more than 300. These efforts have contributed to IUPUI’s 3 percent increase in first to second year retention rates as well as a 7.2 percent increase in six-year graduation rates over the past five years.
In 2010, the year the ePDP began, 95 percent of entering first-time full-time students reported that they were confident that they would complete their degree in a timely manner. Yet, as mentioned above, the retention and graduation rates at IUPUI point to a disconnect between the students’ intent at entry and their college behaviors. A primary goal of the ePDP is to assist students in developing the goal commitment necessary to achieve their intent to complete college in a timely manner. Through exploring and committing to a major and career, developing a semester-by-semester academic course plan, and setting goals for involvement in high-impact practices, building and maintaining the ePDP provides students with realistic pathways to college success.