Rotarian Brandt Stum, right, hosted guest speaker Chris Sigurdson, Assistant Vice President for External Relations at Purdue University, at the Monday noon luncheon meeting.  Sigurdson's presentation was titled "Purdue:  So What, Who Cares?"  This, of course, got the attention of his audience, especially those who graduated from Purdue, and also those who have sent or are presently sending their children to Purdue.  Well, come to find out, it's Purdue that cares.  Purdue wants its clients, students and parents, to know the truth.  

 Is a Purdue degree worth the effort and expense it takes to get?  For most graduates, it certainly is.  The demand for Purdue graduates ranked 4th among leading Universities.  In 2011 General Electric recruited 25 Purdue electrical engineers.  Unfortunately many of us don't have the interest or ability to become electrical engineers.  In that case, it might be advisable to pursue one's passion if one is lucky enough to find it.  Although it may not pay as much or be that much in demand, one will have little difficulty sticking with it.

Of course it's not news to most of us that college has become very expensive.  The present in-state tuition for a year at Purdue is $9,000.  Out-of-state students pay $28,000 and international students pay $30,000.  This makes it possible for Purdue to provide excellent facilities and excellent cutting-edge programs.  Out-of-state and international students in a sense help to pay the way for in-state students.  

 Purdue is one of 150 land grant colleges, the original intent of which was to educate everyone with ability and not just the offspring of the wealthy.  That is still a mission of Purdue, but it does seem that it has become more difficult in recent years for the students that don't get a lot of financial support from home.  Our expectations have changed.  Today the dormitory rooms  are not always shared with one or two other students.  We've come to expect amenities such as air- conditioning and maybe even a private bath.  A computer and other expensive technological equipment are an absolute must.  Purdue still tries to follow the original intent of the land grant colleges, but the times simply require more expense. 

 The average student loan debt for graduating students at Purdue is $27,000.  Purdue graduates have a default rate of 1.4% which is considered good.  If you graduate and land a good job, then the student loan debt is maybe not too much of a burden.  The most expensive diploma is the one you don't complete.  Then you will be saddled with debt that you probably won't be able to repay. 

Brandt Stum

Kentland Rotary Club