Freshman class biggest in 6 years, remains diverse


Kaitlyn Vasilko

Students at the Westville campus showered each other in color at the starting line for the annual Pride Stride, a 5K run on the campus’ cross country course. Th e Sept. 9 event celebrated the start of a new school year.

Purdue Northwest’s freshman class is the school’s largest in six years. 

Enrollment data for the 2022-23 academic year shows 1,292 first-year students enrolled in August, a 21% increase since last year, when PNW welcomed 1,067 first-year students. 

That represents the largest first-year enrollment since the 2016-17 school year, when PNW reported 1,301 students.

“This fall we have welcomed to our campuses one of our largest classes of first-time college students, who are choosing PNW for its quality academics, its commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment and its proven impact on our region,” Chancellor Thomas Keon announced.

Total enrollment increased by 1.3% compared to last year, according to the university’s Institutional Research Fact Book. The total enrollment number, 8,911 students, includes 6,209 full-time students, as well as 2,050 dual-credit high school students and 652 online students. The high school student enrollment increased by 443 students since last year.

“Our enrollment data reflect the changing landscape of who PNW is today, which is a much different picture from our legacy institutions,” Keon said.

The university continues to be a diverse environment.

About 23.5% of students self-identify as Hispanic or Latino, up from 22% last year. The percentage of Black students is 9.3%, up from 9.1% last year. The Asian population is 3.4%, up from 3.1% last year. Whites make up the largest segment of the enrollment, representing 55.4% of the student body.

“We continue to increase our efforts to support first-generation college students and underserved students as they apply to and matriculate through college,” said Elizabeth Babcock Depew, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “At PNW, we have made intentional efforts to increase our service to students and their families in understanding the robust resources we offer to support students on their journey to college and their persistence to a degree.” 

Some students are happy about the diversity.

“I think that it’s really cool that our school is growing, not just from a numbers standpoint but from a cultural standpoint,” said junior Joey Kerber. “I’m really glad that the college I go to is giving opportunities to and attracting first-generation college students, which is an opportunity that not a lot of colleges give to students.” 

Senior Maya Dziepak agrees.

“It’s really awesome that PNW is progressing more as a diverse school,” she said “I think the community we’re in played a big part in this as well. I … identify as Hispanic, so I think it’s really cool to know that someone with a background like mine has a shot at a good education here.”