Reasons to be encouraged during tough economic times

Dear Friends,

We recently reported that our 8,944 spring semester students have enrolled in a Purdue Calumet record-setting 94,282 credit hours of course work. That number exceeds last spring’s record total by more than 4,100 hours (4.6 percent) when 18 more students were enrolled.

This growth is consistent with the idea that in difficult economic times people turn to education to improve their life opportunities.

That idea is playing out at Purdue Calumet:

  1. Our undergraduate students have continued a trend of carrying larger course loads-an average of 11.1 hours this spring, compared to 10.6 a year ago and 10.4 in 2007. Larger course loads mean our students are on pace to graduate sooner.
  2. Enrolling in more courses during a time of economic recession substantiates our students’ perceived value of education as an important investment. While unemployment has increased in recent weeks, unemployment also tends to be lower for people who hold college degrees. More education, more marketable, more job options.
  3. Some 80 percent of our fall students who were eligible to return this spring remain enrolled; that’s believed to be the highest fall-to-spring retention rate in our history. An uncertain future can be a compelling motivator to hang tough on an education track.
  4. Finally, there is a satisfaction component to consider. A college education doesn’t merely open doors to jobs; in fact, it provides access to fulfilling, rewarding careers.

I am certainly not suggesting that a university degree is recession-proof. There are no promises in life; only better odds. What does seem apparent, however, is that a growing number of Purdue Calumet students understand that the odds are with the college educated – and sooner is better than later.


Howard Cohen,