Kent campus enrollment reaches record high


Enrollment from 2008 to 2014

Hanna Moore

Kent State’s 15-day enrollment statistics were released Tuesday and main campus enrollment is at an all-time high.

There are 28,457 students enrolled at the main campus, which is more than last year’s number of 28,019.

“In terms of overall enrollment for the Kent campus, we are experiencing an increase, yet again, of 1.6 percent, which is a little more than 400 students, and so we were really pleased with that number,” said T. David Garcia, associate vice president for enrollment management.

Statistics are always released 15 calendar days after classes begin to account for late enrollment and for students dropping or adding classes.

The total enrollment across all eight campuses is 41,214 students with 12,757 students enrolled at regional campuses.

This year’s incoming freshman class is the third largest with a total of 4,242 students and is the most academically talented with an average high school cumulative GPA of 3.34 and an average ACT score of 23.

“[The increase of students is] a little smaller than last year, but very much in line with what we want to achieve,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren at Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting.  “As your president, I’m not so much into how large we are, but about the quality of what we offer and about the quality of the individuals who come share time with us, so I’m very pleased with the enrollment.”

The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is also the highest ever recorded with Kent State being in above 80 percent for the first time ever, Garcia said.

This year’s retention rate is 81.7 percent, which is an almost 4 percent increase from last year’s rate of 77.6 percent.

“If you recruit better students, you are going to retain those students,” Garcia said. “I’m not saying it’s automatic. It does not just happen. It takes the hard work of faculty and staff working with these students to retain them to their sophomore year.”

However, enrollment and retention have declined at all regional campuses except Geauga, Garcia said.

“I think we’re seeing a national trend here, and it’s not just Kent State regional campuses only, but as the economy improves, we tend to see a downward trend at the two-year colleges, and that would include our two-year regional campuses,” Garcia said.

Geauga’s enrollment has increased because the population of the town is increasing, so they are getting more people right out of high school in contrast to the other regional campuses that are mostly non-traditional students, said Dean of the Regional College and Interim Dean of the Kent State Trumbull Campus Wanda Thomas.

Another demographic that has decreased in enrollment is with Kent State’s international students.

We are experiencing a slight decrease in international freshmen this year due to the fact that we closed admissions on May 1 for the first time ever, Garcia said.

“I suspect that if we had continued to admit and enroll, we would have enrolled more international students, but the challenge there was housing.”

Online enrollment is up for both online-only programs and “hybrid programs,” in which students are enrolled in the majority of their classes on campus and one or two online courses.

More than 40 percent of Kent State students, 16,664 students total, are enrolled in online classes, which is up 8.9 percent from last year’s total of 15,251.

Additionally, the number of diverse students at Kent State has increased.

“In terms of diversity, we are seeing some increase percentage-wise of the [African American, Latino American and Native American, or AALANA] diversity populations,” Garcia said.

The number of new AALANA students is 690, which has increased 3.3 percent from last year’s total of 668 students. The average high school GPA of AALANA students is also up from last year, increasing from 3.18 to 3.21.

The largest increase in retention is nursing, which Garcia said jumped about 10 percent. Nursing also had a 3 percent increase in enrollment, with 2,078 total students enrolled.

The other colleges increased in retention about 3 to 6 percent, Garcia said.

The Kent State University Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness website was not operating at press time.

Contact Hanna Moore at [email protected].