Trumbull enrollment up 62 percent

Kristyn Soltis

Summer classes, free tuition cause increase

Kent State’s Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness reported an 18.32 percent increase in summer enrollment across Kent’s eight-campus system.

Kent State Trumbull alone saw an increase of 61.89 percent from summer 2008 to summer 2009.

Randi Schneider, director of enrollment management for Kent State Trumbull campus, believes Kent State’s eight-campus system saw an increase in summer enrollment as a result of student encouragement to consider summer courses and possibly as a result of the economic stresses to the Warren-Youngstown community.

“Although I did anticipate an increase, I am quite certain none of us would have ever predicted a spike of this magnitude,” said Schneider in an e-mail interview.

Schneider believes several variables contributed to the dramatic increase in student enrollment.

“We cannot overlook the fact that the unemployment rate in the Warren-Youngstown area is the highest within Ohio. The Mahoning Valley is home to the automotive industry and other employers who have been hit quite hard by the recession,” Schneider said. “As a result, a large number of hard working and intelligent people are seeking out ways to either update their skills so that they can be competitive in the changed job market or they are seeking out educational opportunities to change their career path entirely.”

As of June, Trumbull County’s unemployment rate has risen to 15.5 percent from 14.3 percent in May, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Schneider said the Trumbull campus has seen both an interest and increase in both students seeking degrees and members of the community seeking to learn new skills in the workforce development programs.

Schneider also believes there is value in taking summer courses to lighten the academic load during fall and spring semesters and to provide a sense of continuity with coursework.

“For some students, math is one of those subjects that you ‘use or lose,’ so there is value to them in simply going right from one course to the other without a break,” she said.

Schneider recalls her college days as an undergraduate when she took summer classes she believed would challenge her. The summer courses provided her with the ability to focus her energy and submerge herself into her economics class, therefore, maintaining a strong GPA.

“I practically slept with my econ book,” Schneider said. “The fact that I took the class in the summer allowed me to focus my energy on the course and helped me achieve success in a class that I thought might be a GPA killer.”

Schneider said Trumbull cannot foresee any drastic spikes in enrollment next year.

“To some degree it requires me to have a crystal ball. The most important thing is that the students that we currently have on campus are successful and achieve their goals,” she said. “I’ll worry about next summer after I know our current Kent Trumbull family members are moving in the direction of degree completion and hearing an employer say ‘Welcome back.'”

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected]