Kent State enrollment declines this school year

Andrew Atkins

Enrollment dropped at six Ohio universities this school year.

Kent State, Shawnee State University, The University of Akron, Central State University and undergraduate enrollment at Cleveland State University decreased for the 2016-2017 academic  year.

In Ohio, however, total enrollment across all public universities increased by 3,563 students, totaling 434,215 this year. Ohio University saw the largest increase, gaining 2,121 new students for the academic year.

Though Kent State’s main campus enrollment increased, the student count dropped at the Ashtabula, Geauga, Salem, Trumbull and Tuscarawas campuses.

Kent State did have record-high retention rates, but Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Todd Diacon said retention rates went down for freshmen-to-sophomore African-American men.

“We just have to look and see why that is and what plans are in place to address it,” Diacon said.          

Though the university’s overall enrollment dropped, the decrease was not as severe as the drop in Akron’s numbers. While Kent State’s enrollment decreased by 223 students, (0.54 percent), Akron lost 2,025 students (8.04 percent); the biggest loss in Ohio. 

In an email to the university community, Akron’s Interim President Matthew J. Wilson wrote that the primary reasons for the decrease in enrollment were a large graduating class and a “sharp decrease in the number of new freshmen.”

“It is gratifying that within recent weeks, the hard work of the Admissions team and many others throughout the University family has helped mitigate what was looking to be a much steeper decline,” Wilson wrote. “In fact, we saw more than a four percentage point uptick in overall enrollment compared with two months ago.”

While Kent State’s enrollment decreased, the University of Cincinnati increased overall enrollment and beat Kent State by about 3,500 students.

Kent State defeated Cincinnati in terms of undergraduate enrollment, however, outnumbering the southern Ohio college’s undergraduate population by 744 students.

Andrew Atkins is an administration reporter, contact him at [email protected].