Kent campus experiences slight drop in enrollment


Undergraduate Retention

Taylor Robinson

Kent State released 15th Day Enrollment Statistics for Spring 2017, which showed a small drop in undergraduate enrollment compared to Spring 2016 at the Kent Campus.

Currently, 22,175 undergraduate students are enrolled on Kent Campus, which decreased from 22,255 students last spring.

The freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes all decreased by 5.47 percent, while the senior class posted a 3.38 percent gain, according to the statistics.

“Our enrollment remains strong and healthy across all areas of the student body, and it’s not unusual to see a slight drop in spring numbers from fall to spring,” Eric Mansfield, executive director of University Media Relations, wrote via email. “As the economy increases, many non-traditional students will return to the work force and delay completing their education for the time being,”

The university established specific goals for retention and aims at a first-year retention rate of 85 percent by 2020. It also aims for a six-year graduation rate of 65 percent before freshman begin in Fall 2020, according to the university’s website.

Along with the slight drop in overall Kent campus enrollment, retention rates for multiple colleges also dropped.

The University College decreased in enrollment by 8.20 percent, according to the statistics.

The University College has several advising strategies implemented for those students enrolled as an exploratory major to help them find their future careers and declare a major.

Students pick an area of interest when they apply to Kent State as exploratory, and their First Year Experience class is coordinated with a Kent Core class to align with their area of interest, Nicole Kotlan, director of the Exploratory Advising Center, said.

“Exploratory majors also create an Action Plan, which they can update on their own online or when they meet with their Academic Advisor in the Exploratory Advising Center,” Kotlan said. “Students create their Action Plan with their academic advisor in their first advising appointment in the fall semester and update it during their semester advising appointment on-going until they declare.”

The College of Public Health also decreased by 6.24 percent in enrollment.

“For the most recent data, the first time, full-time Kent campus freshmen denominator was 34 students in the College of Public Health. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, four of our students did not return,” Sonia Alemagno, dean of the College of Public Health, wrote via email.

Jennifer Miller, assistant dean of the College of Public Health, and the advising staff reached out to those students via email and phone, Alemagno wrote.

“It is unfortunate that students choose to leave the College of Public Health and Kent State University due to ample access to resources and intensive outreach provided by the college,” Alemagno wrote. “When a student decides to leave for home due to being homesick or there is a tragedy like the death of a family member or a work injury, we are ready to help these students, if they should decide to return to our college.”

While retention dropped for some undergraduate programs on main campus, enrollment rates for others improved.

The School of Digital Sciences increased from 176 to 205 students. It had the largest retention rate out of all the undergraduate programs: 16.48 percent, according to the statistics.

The College of Nursing also experienced an increase in enrollment from 1,509 to 1,603 students, which is a 6.23 percent increase, according to the statistics.

Barbara Broome, Dean of the College of Nursing, said the college has counseling and meets with every student to ask them what they need or what kind of challenges they are having. A mentor will walk them through and give them helpful hints.

“Faculty is always out there pulling for the students,” Broome said.

Taylor Robinson is the recruiting and retention reporter, contact her at [email protected]