Purdue sees spike in summer school enrollment

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is in the middle of an aggressive campaign to increase enrollment in summer school. The university’s already seeing results with projections for the past two summers combined up 24 percent.

To put it simply, the university said they’re listening to what their customers, the students, want. They are offering more classes, opening up a residence hall, and even allowing meal plans.

Thursday, soon-to-be grads were taking pictures and making their final memories, fresh out of graduation practice. Engineering student Oliver Hirsch was one of those anxious to turn his tassle, along with many others.

“I’m looking forward to getting a job,” he said.

But while the almost-grads are reliving their glory days, school leaders are focused on summer.

“We’ll have students in class Monday morning,” said Dr. Frank Dooley, Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

He’s the man behind the university’s “Think Summer” campaign.

“We saw that numbers had been declining for about a decade,” he said.

In 2012, Dooley started working to undo the dip in summer school enrollment. The university developed a summer school strategy, guaranteeing classes students need to graduate will be offered.

There’s now 250 courses promised, and the jump in summer enrollment, up 24% over two years, is success getting the eyeballs of other schools.

“More and more people are looking at us saying how are you doing that,” said Dooley.

One way, Dooley believes, is through the university’s “Think Summer” website. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking to enroll in summer courses. In all, it’s an initiative that other soon-to-be grads wish they hadn’t missed.

“Not having a big opportunity to take classes that I needed, that kind of affected me,” said Oliver Hirsch.

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