India recruiting office is in the works for Kent State

Anna Staver

Kent State is moving ahead with plans to open a recruiting office in Delhi, India, President Lester Lefton said Friday in a meeting with Daily Kent Stater editors.

Lefton said recruiters will encourage Indian students who are considering higher education in the United States to choose Kent State. The office will be permanent with a full-time Kent State employee.

India is a unique market for Kent State because it has a large population (approximately 1.3 billion people), and the country doesn’t have enough colleges to satisfy the interest in higher education, Lefton said. He also said that education in India is conducted in English and that the country boasts more English speakers than the United States.

“That makes it a lot easier for them to matriculate into Kent State,” Lefton said.

He said he expects the office will open in the next couple of months and anticipates that the class of 2012 will have “a significant infusion of Indian students.”


Lefton said he is also making distance learning a priority, and he has hired people at all levels of the university to expand the number classes offered online. The goal is to triple the number of online courses within the three years.

“I’m expecting that (within) two to three years we will have 15,000 students taking online courses,” Lefton said.

He said online courses will allow regional campus students to take classes that aren’t available to them at their campus and will allow students with busy schedules to stay on track to graduate on time. Online classes will also help the university reach students across the country and help Kent State compete with other universities that already offer a wide array of online courses.


One issue Lefton said he couldn’t talk about in detail was the estimated $10 billion budget deficit facing Ohio.

“I can’t speculate on what we are going to do because I don’t know what the budget is going to be,” Lefton said.

Provost Robert Frank said he asked the deans to prepare scenarios for small, medium and large cuts, but he said all those discussions have an “if/then” clause around them.

“We’ve been assuming there will be some budget cuts,” Frank said. “With that assumption, there’s a window of budget cuts that are easier to imagine than some that are very large and catastrophic, and it’s almost impossible to figure out how we could meet them in our budget.”


Lefton said Kent State’s representatives will push to make higher education a priority for Ohio Gov. Kasich.

In the next two weeks Lefton said he will make trips to Columbus and Washington D.C. to meet with the university’s legislators and lobbyists.

Lefton’s trip to Columbus was part of a larger trip with the Inter-University Council of Ohio, said Iris Harvey, vice president of University Relations. The IUC is a lobbying group made up of representatives from 13 of Ohio’s public universities.

“All of the universities will be going to Columbus to meet with the legislators to tell them of the needs of higher education,” Harvey said.

Lefton stressed the importance of a having regular meetings with Kent State’s legislators.

“All of the legislators don’t understand all of the complexities of what it takes to run higher education,” Lefton said. “Therefore we provide through our lobbyists information, especially those who represent us.”

In Washington, Kent State’s lobbying efforts will be similar, but Lefton said there is a focus on the national education policy.

“We are very concerned that the new republican administration is going to seek to cut Pell Grants,” Lefton said. “This would be terrible for the neediest students at Kent State.”

Contact Anna Staver at [email protected].