From the Vice Provost

Kristina Wong Davis

Being part of Purdue is taking my breath away, sometimes literally — as in several days ago when I opened my door to a temperature of -19°.

As I write this, 2018 is ramping up to be one for the record books in more ways than the weather. On Monday, we will have the largest admission decision release in Purdue’s history. Beginning around 5 p.m. Eastern Time, more than 35,000 applicants will be able to log into their Purdue application to view their decision.

This Class of 2022 will be the first admitted during my tenure. I’ve only been a Purdue Boilermaker for about six months, so I’m still learning more about the University every single day. And I’m often asked what has impressed me most.

My answer? Hands downs, Purdue’s approach and philosophy toward financial aid and student borrowing. The list of initiatives continues to grow:

  • An impressive six-years of frozen tuition,
  • reduced food and housing rates,
  • a student cost-saving partnership for textbooks with Amazon,
  • and the recently announced Boiler Affordability Grant,  – a financial aid program for low- and middle-income Indiana residents. 

As I continue to learn more about Purdue, I’d like to use this space to do a little Purdue myth busting so that you might learn a bit more as well. 

Myth #1: Student debt and college tuition is on the rise everywhere
Not so. Here at Purdue, students and their families will pay less to attend Purdue in 2019 than they did in 2012. We’re unaware of any other American university that can make that statement.

We’re also bucking national trends when it comes to student debt. Purdue undergraduate borrowing is down 37 percent since 2012, and more of our students are graduating debt free than at any time in the past 10 years. 

Myth #2: Purdue is just a STEM school
Yes, we are a leader in STEM — but so much more. Look at any of our more than 200+ plans of study and you’ll discover an intentional intersection of arts and science. We look for the connections between theory and practice or between science, technology and the humanities.

Whether a student is majoring in computer science or communications, at the core of a Purdue education is the ability to imagine the possibilities— what the future could and should be.

Myth #3: Don’t go to Purdue for a Liberal Arts degree
Think again (see Myth #2). Innovation on steroids is what you’ll find in the College of Liberal Arts, with more than 50 majors that emphasize experience-based learning. Once students learn the tools in the classroom they take them into the real world. 

The newly established Liberal Arts Career Center helps students launch their careers through company partnerships, alumni connections and career-focused programing. And there’s money. The Job-Ready program provides up to $2,000 to make non-paid or low-paid internships viable options.

If you have students who have a clear liberal arts focus and are highly motivated, we now offer a new program, Degree in 3, with more than 20 programs that can be completed in three years. And the program is packed with perks — think priority class registration, opportunities to connect with alumni and partnerships to help students secure jobs and internships. 

Myth #4: Purdue isn’t accessible to B students
Although admission to our most popular majors is extremely competitive (engineering, computer science, nursing, for example), students don’t need to be in the academic stratosphere to be admitted to most majors. Of course we want solid students who demonstrate a desire to challenge themselves and learn, but even many of those who receive a deny decision on Monday will have other viable options if they’re interested in more than one major (see Understanding Admission Decisions).

Like I have been, many of your students will be discovering more about Purdue beginning Monday. For many, it will be a day to celebrate, but of course there will be disappointment for some. Regardless of a student’s decision or application status, over the coming weeks Admissions staff will be all-hands-on-deck to answer questions about next steps and/or future options at Purdue.

I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2018!


Kristina Wong Davis is the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management providing leadership to the areas of admissions, financial aid, the registrar and enrollment analysis and reporting.

She has held positions at a number of other public universities including the University of California San Diego, where she served as the Director of Admissions and worked to expand the number of California residents on campus and improve diversity. While with The Ohio State University, she provided leadership as the director of recruitment and outreach, overseeing local, national and international efforts to grow and diversify enrollment for Ohio State. Additionally, Wong Davis served in many capacities with University of Arizona including roles in admission, alumni and early academic outreach. As a higher education professional, she has served in roles with the ACT State Organization in California and the Midwest Regional Council for College Board.

Kris grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arizona and her masters in elementary education and doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.

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