Kent Campus enrollment, freshmen retention rate at all-time high

09/15/16 Retention Rate Kent Campus

09/15/16 Retention Rate Kent Campus

Lydia Taylor

Kent State released their 15th Day Enrollment Statistics Tuesday, showing that enrollment and retention rates reached historically high numbers on the university’s Kent campus this semester.

Currently, 29,105 students are enrolled on main campus, which increased from 28,981 in 2015, according to statistics released by the university.

Along with the increase in enrollment, retention rates of full-time freshmen have been on the rise. 

“We hit above 82 percent for the first time in the university’s history: 82.2 percent,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren.

Retention data on the university’s website shows steady retention increases since 2000.

“We’re very proud of that because … if we can really make sure that students are returning for their sophomore year, we have a much better chance of hitting that 65 percent graduation rate goal that we have set for ourselves,” Warren said.

The university aims for a first-year retention rate of 85 percent by 2020 and a six-year graduation rate of 65 percent by the time freshmen begin in fall 2020, according to the university’s website.

In efforts to rebrand the university, Warren said changes were made in an attempt to make students feel more welcome and at home when they attend Kent State. She believes this has contributed to the increased enrollment and retention rate.

“I think this idea of our branding campaign of ‘We welcome you with open arms but push you out with an open mind’ is really the ‘Undeniably Kent State’ message,” Warren said. 

“I think students are resonating with that message both when you’re here, but also as we’re recruiting students.”

ACT scores and GPA are big factors in recruitment, according to Warren, but the type of student is just as important. “I think it’s … recruiting the right student,” Warren said. “It’s the ones that have the great fit and the great determination to make a difference in the world, and I think that we’re actually attracting that student in … a better way. And then once you’re here, we know that students who are engaged are likely to persist.”

The university has numerous services on campus for students to utilize, including career services, internship programs and campus organizations.

The student experience is “superb,” Warren said, “both in terms of the academic rigor in academic majors and the quality of the education you’re receiving.

“Now we have over 400 student organizations. There’s a place for everyone at Kent State.”

[email protected]