Honors College enrollment on the rise, more scholarships offered

Mariam Makatsaria

Freshman Honors College enrollment increased by 25 percent from fall 2012 to fall 2013. This fall, 422 students were admitted to the Honors College compared to last year’s freshman class size of 329 students.

“This is a measure of the success of our college, and also of Kent State for bringing in a higher level of freshmen,” said Donald Palmer, Interim Dean of the Honors College.

This year, the Honors College offered merit scholarships to each entering freshman. This represented a 24 percent increase in the number of students receiving honors scholarships. Palmer said that this could be one of the reasons as to why the number of honors students grew this fall.

“We’ve always wanted to offer scholarships to every honors student,” said Carolyn Sampson, coordinator of recruitment, scholarships and study abroad. “Enrollment management supported offering increased scholarships because the office and the Honors College believed that this would help recruit better students to Kent –and it is true that we got a higher yield. More people said yes to us.”

The Honors College awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 to full in-state tuition based on the student’s GPA and ACT composite.

“I think increasing scholarship offers was a decision that we made to try to engage with the entire community, to strengthen the community of scholars that we have, so that everybody feels like they are a part of the Honors College and that they can pursue academic interests,” said Wayne Elliott, coordinator of advising and alumni relations.

The minimum admissions criteria is a cumulative GPA of 3.6, an ACT score of 27 or a 1210 SAT score on both reading and math. Honors scholarships are renewable for a maximum of eight semesters if the recipient maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

According to Sampson, other factors that attracted more high-achieving students might have resulted from other changes the Honors College implemented. This semester, the Honors College placed a larger emphasis on honors coursework, honors hours and honors thesis.

“There has been an emphasis in telling the incomings that they are expected to do the honors coursework every semester,” said Sampson.

Sampson also said that the decreased honors thesis hour requirement may have contributed to the high enrollment rate this semester.

“It is a good change that happened last year to get those hours down from ten to six. Now it’s more conceivable for all majors,” Sampson said.

Recent redevelopments in Kent’s downtown district also caused an uptick in general interest in the area. “We’re riding this enrollment growth. There seems to be a renewed interest in what’s going on here,” Sampson said.

The large class size can also be partially attributed to several other reasons such as increased prestige, word of mouth and honors offerings, Elliott said.

“We have an ever-growing number of honors courses and honors offerings. I think that has added incentive to recruit some additional students,” Elliott said.

Contact Mariam Makatsaria at [email protected].