Campus enrollment up 5 percent

Bethany English

Enrollment at the Kent campus increased more than 5 percent this year, which is 1,279 students. The eight-campus system saw an overall increase of 7.56 percent.

The increased enrollment at the Kent campus comes in spite of 176 fewer incoming freshmen than last year’s all-time high class of 6,296.

This year, there are more students attending Kent State campuses than ever before, a total of 41,365.

“The down economy is benefiting Kent State as well as other universities,” university spokeswoman Emily Vincent said. She said some adult students are retraining themselves for new careers or realizing a college degree is necessary.

A 78.6 percent retention rate has kept that large freshmen class moving on to become sophomores, as well as maintaining most of last year’s sophomores, juniors and some seniors.

In fact, this fall numbers were up for all class ranks other than freshmen by 300 students or more.

Kent State also boosted recruiting efforts with programs in places such as Buffalo and Pittsburgh and by expanding campus visits to introduce people to Kent through campus tours.

Vincent said visitors as young as Girl Scout troops have toured on campus.

Through phone calls, e-mails and personal follow-ups with prospective students, faculty and staff are also taking a larger part in encouraging students to come to Kent.

David Garcia, associate vice president of enrollment management, said the increase is not only the result of a large freshmen class but increases in graduate students and international students also contributed to higher numbers this semester.

Garcia said regional campuses have seen a 14.9 percent spike this year, and this might reflect the affordability of commuter campuses.

These positive enrollment numbers come just as the university prepares to launch its $1 million television advertising campaign to try to entice even more students.

“The marketing campaign is vital to for us to meet our enrollment goals in diversity and quality of incoming freshmen class,” Garcia said.

Kent State received more than 15,000 applications this year, a new record. This high number allowed for more student selectivity, which helped contribute to the university’s goal of increased diversity and incoming students’ academic quality.

This year applicants were not required to specify their ethnicity, but the available data showed an increase of over 90 multiracial students. It also showed a decrease in Caucasian students, but Garcia said that decrease may be because many of those students left their ethnicity blank.

Garcia said he considers diversity to be part of the excellence Kent State strives for, and he expects it to continue to grow.

Reporting contributed by Jessica White.

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