University examines higher retention rate

Kristyn Soltis

Aug. 20 meeting will address enrollment

Kent State President Lester Lefton, Provost Robert Frank, Responsibility, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness members and faculty plan to meet Aug. 20 to discuss and link enrollment and retention tactics to increased enrollment numbers.

Spring enrollment at the Kent campus was up 4.4 percent and up 8.5 percent for the summer. Regional campuses have seen double-digit increases.

“The plan is to take the comments and feedback from the meeting, wait for the final 15th day numbers, hoping they stay up, and then put together a presentation that explains the numbers and how the efforts of Kent State faculty and staff have had a positive impact on our students,” said Wayne Schneider, director of RPIE.

Wayne said the economy may play a small factor in the enrollment increase, however, he said the effort put in by Kent State faculty and staff most likely is the cause of the increases.

“A lot of people did a lot of work to get summer enrollment up, so I think summer is clearly an instance of the work we put into it paid off. It wasn’t a random effect from some type of economic problem,” Wayne said. “I’ve gone back and I’ve put in Kent campus enrollments for the past 30 years, from 1970 to last fall, and overlaying the time periods where there have been other national recessions, and for the most part it didn’t make any difference.”

Wayne said he does not know what the exact numbers will be for the fall semester, however, he believes the increases will continue.

“We think that enrollments and first-year retention rates will be up significantly in the fall. What those numbers are I do not want to say. So much can happen between now and the start of school,” Wayne said. “We do have some ideas of where the numbers are going to be, but we don’t like to put them out because people tend to latch onto things, then if they’re different, we catch holy heck for it.”

Wayne said after the 15th day of the semester, RPIE will be able to release enrollment numbers.

“The president and the provost have been pushing people really hard the past year or two to improve these numbers, and I think we’re seeing the results of those efforts,” Wayne said. “I’m just trying to link some of these activities with some of those numbers.”

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].