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A Student Perspective: Purdue University and Student Basic Needs

JT Kopcynski, Research Intern SBNC

June 2021


Purdue University is among the top accredited universities in the world; with north of 50,000 students attending Purdue each year, this brings great career opportunity potential for all of these students, especially with Purdue’s exceptionally high ranking in STEM and Agriculture (US News). However, given the academic difficulty of Purdue (Tuggle, 2018) as well as financial difficulties various students face, student support is going to be highly necessary. This memo seeks to provide an overview of Purdue student needs services as well as where Purdue may be lacking in its services, thereby helping to bring forth potential change in the kinds of services provided.

To begin with, Purdue provides services for class absences, whether it be Grief, Military, or Jury Duty Absences (Purdue University). By providing an absence request form, the student will be able to get an excused absence, and in the case of grief, the student will be eligible for a certain number of excused absences by the relationship of the person lost. Parenting Leave is offered at Purdue as well. Academic Assistance is offered at the university as well, such as an Academic Success Center which consists of things such as Supplemental Instruction, Peer Success Coaching, and more (Purdue University). The Span Plan is offered as well, which provides non-traditional student services for those who are different from the general college demographic, such as being a transfer student, married, or something else (Purdue University). Various forms of Financial Assistance are offered by the university as well, such as the Division of Financial Aid, Emergency Loans, and scholarships that can offer as much as $4,000 (Purdue University News 2019). Perhaps the most important of Purdue’s services to students is their Mental Health services, as Purdue is known for being a highly challenging university, which leads to very high stress levels within the university, speaking from my own experience of being an undergraduate student and graduate student at the university. As such, Purdue offers resources, such as CAPS, to help students with their mental health (Purdue University). Purdue Counseling and Guidance Center also helps students with their mental health. Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH) is also offered, which provides free care for students and are eligible for office visits (Purdue University Student Health). Lastly, student food resources, such as ACE Food Pantry, are also very popular on campus (Ace Campus Food Pantry).

However, Purdue does have certain shortcomings when it comes to the services it provides. The biggest concern likely comes with its mental health services, as my own experiences as well as talking to others at the university affirmed that. As previously mentioned, Purdue is a very stressful university, and because of this, mental health services are in great demand. However, students often note that CAPS fills up too quickly and often need to wait weeks to get the first appointment (Garg, 2018). This is made worse by the fact that CAPS has a somewhat below average number of psychologists with 32 (Purdue University) whereas the number for a school such as Purdue would be 36 (Strauss, 2018). In conjunction to this, speaking from personal experience, CAPS does not offer particularly robust services after the initial appointment and tends to refer to Psychologists in Lafayette, and not all students have a car. Along with this, the merit-based scholarship award is below the US average of $11,287 (Kerr, 2020) with it being $1,000 or $3,000 for residents and non-residents (Purdue News). Need-based scholarships are also below the US average of $28,448 (Shaughnessy, 2011), coming out at $12,063 (US News). Moreover, this once again comes from personal experience, but many students had qualms with the way Purdue spent money, as many students felt that Purdue was putting money into things that had relatively little value. Lastly, from my personal experience, many students felt Center for Career Opportunities (also known as the CCO) did not help them much.

In total, Purdue University offers a great deal of services to their students, ranging from mental and physical health to financial health. Moreover, the university provides a great service to its students by allowing free healthcare to any full-time student and also offering unique academic assistance to help students graduate. However, the university does struggle to provide robust mental health services and also does not spend enough money on their scholarships. In conjunction to this, the university could use a better Career Opportunities department and could also allocate their money more efficiently. By fixing up the latter issues, Purdue University will be a school that looks out for all their students’ needs.


Sources:

“How Does Purdue University--West Lafayette Rank Among America's Best Colleges?” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report.

Tuggle, Charlotte. “Purdue Ranked as One of Toughest Grading Colleges.” Purdue Exponent, 16 Dec. 2014.

“Class Absences: Purdue University.” Class Absences | Purdue University.

“Academic Assistance: Purdue University.” Academic Assistance | Purdue University.

“Emergency Loans: Purdue University.” Emergency Loans | Purdue University.

“Scholarships: Purdue University.” Scholarships | Purdue University.

“Student Applications Sought for Class of 1937 Scholarship, Charles O. McGaughey Leadership Award.” Purdue University News, Purdue University, 19 Dec. 2019.

“Mental and Emotional Support: Purdue University.” Mental and Emotional Support | Purdue University.

Purdue University Student Health

“ACE Campus Food Pantry.” ACE Campus Food Pantry - Leadership and Professional Development Initiative - Purdue University, Purdue University.

Garg, Kanika. “Students Wait Weeks for Therapy.” Purdue Exponent, Purdue University, 15 Oct. 2018.

CAPS Staff. Purdue University.

Strauss, Valerie. “Analysis | If Americans Really Cared about Students' Mental Health, These School Ratios Would Be Very Different.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 5 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/02/15/if-americans-really-cared-about-students-mental-health-these-school-ratios-would-be-very-different/.

Powell, Farran, and Emma Kerr. “17 Things to Know About Merit Aid Scholarships | Paying for College | US News.” U.S. News & World Report, 1 Feb. 2021.

“Purdue News.” Merit-Based Awards Attract Top Students, Purdue University.