Freshmen lead increase in on-campus living

Ryan Landolph

The number of first-year students are on the rise at Kent State, leading to a higher number of students living on campus.

“There is an increase,” said Jill Church, director of residence services. “(On the) fifteenth day in the Fall 2015, we had 6,325 (students living on campus,) and that is 149 more students than we had on the fifteenth day in the Fall 2014.”

Not only are first-year students driving the growth for on-campus living, but the group also makes up the majority of students who live in the dorms.

“The (number of) first-year students living on campus has hovered between 81 and 84 percent for the last three years,” Church said. “Last fall, we saw 84 percent (living in the dorms), and this fall, we saw 83.9 percent. We count on, or expect, about somewhere between 81 and 85 (percent of first-year students) to live on campus.”

Kent State also has a housing contract, which requires students to live on campus for their freshman and sophomore years unless the student meets other stipulations. With students being kept on campus, it keeps the numbers on the rise.

“Kent has a housing requirement, and a lot of students want to take advantage of getting that part of their college experience,” Church said.

Corey Patterson, a Resident Assistant (RA) in Centennial Hall, spoke on the increased number of first-year students living on campus specifically in the Centennial dorms.

“Traditionally, the Centennials have been the more premium option for upperclassman, but with the recent influx of first-year students, they have been expanded for freshman as well,” Patterson said.

Along with the number of first-year students on the rise, international students are also seeing a growth in on-campus living.

According to the residence services Fall 2015 Occupancy Report, 228 international students from 41 different countries are living on campus this fall.

Church reinforced the numbers, saying, “Students are coming from further away … we have more students than ever coming from further than fifty miles or coming from a different country, so they do not have that option to stay at home that first year.”

Kent State offers opportunities in different Living Learning Communities with different majors as well, which Church sees as yet another reason why students are opting to stay on campus.

As in year’s prior, Kent State earned a spot in the 2016 Best Colleges edition of the U.S. News & World Report. The university was ranked 175 in the National University Ranking, up from being ranked 194 in 2015.

“Kent has increased its profile in the terms of the students they accept, so the students coming now and in the last few years have higher test scores and higher high school GPAs,” Church said. “As Kent becomes more selective, I think it becomes more attractive because people want to be a part of something that’s harder to be a part of.”

All of these factors have contributed to the increase in dorm population, even with the housing rates on the rise. 

“Typically, our room rates go up between 3 and 4 percent every year because of utility cost and staffing cost,” Church said.

Eastway, which includes Allyn, Clark, Fletcher and Manchester halls, houses about 24 percent of all freshman on campus according to the Fall 2015 Occupancy Report. Kent State housing reports that the cost for a double room in one of those four halls is $3,232 per semester.

Ultimately, Church looked at the rise in students living on campus from a general college perspective.

“As the freshman classes get larger, (the university) is naturally seeing more students on campus,” Church said. “I think students like it for the convenience. I think they like it for getting connected to other students.”

Alex Laikos, a freshman finance major, said he agreed with Church in terms of connecting with other students.

“Living in the dorms with all new students has helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people from all around the country,” Laikos said.

Ryan Landolph is the residence halls reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].