Enrollment: Ascent and Descent
Purdue School of Agriculture undergraduate enrollment increased by 1,901 students from 1967-1977. Then, it decreased by 2,138 students from 1977-1987.
Here are the numbers for the Ascent.
1967 Enrollment Total: 1,892
Freshmen enrollment: 509
1972 Enrollment Total: 2,576
Freshmen enrollment: 759
1977 Enrollment Total: 3,793
Freshmen enrollment: 937
Enrollment growth in the early 1970s was especially impacted by student interest in veterinary medicine and in environment and natural resources — sparked by “Earth Day” in 1970. Beginning students’ choices of majors showed that interest.
1973 Freshmen Enrollment Total: 756
Pre-Veterinary Medicine: 336
Forestry and Wildlife: 103
23 other Agriculture plans of study: 317
1974 Freshmen Enrollment Total: 885
Pre-Veterinary Medicine: 372
Forestry and Wildlife: 130
23 other Agriculture plans of study: 383
Here are the numbers for the Descent, when enrollment declined 56 percent from 1977 to 1987.
1982 Enrollment Total: 2,748
Freshmen enrollment : 648
1987 Enrollment Total: 1,655
Freshmen enrollment: 306
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, graduates faced a tough job market. These factors contributed to the enrollment decrease:
- There were far more applicants than could be admitted to colleges of veterinary medicine.
- The employment market for environmental and natural resources graduates was more than saturated.
- The American agricultural economy experienced a very severe recession in the early 1980s.
Of the 306 freshmen enrolled in the 1987 fall semester, 81 were in pre-veterinary medicine and 45 in forestry and wildlife, relatively fewer than in earlier years.