KSU’s regional campuses see sharp growth in enrollment

Kelly Petryszyn

Free tuition cited as main catalyst

Credit: DKS Editors

Total enrollment at Kent State campuses has increased more than 7 percent compared to last spring, partially because of many students enrolling at regional campuses.

Pete Goldsmith, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, said the university can attribute the improvement to a variety of reasons.

“(It’s) a combination of improved retention, students being more successful and more transfers into the university,” Goldsmith said.

Enrollment at the Ashtabula campus increased by 30.7 percent compared to last spring, Geauga campus enrollment increased by 16.6 percent and Trumbull campus enrollment increased by 14.5 percent.

Goldsmith said this spike in enrollment at regional campuses is primarily because people are trying to look at education in a more cost-effective manner.

“The increase in numbers (in regional campuses) speak to our abilities to have added programs, to create new vehicles for students to be able to access those institutions and to meet the needs of their local community,” he said.

The amount of freshmen at all campuses increased 15 percent from Spring 2008 to Spring 2009. Goldsmith said this means the university is more successful retaining freshmen.

The enrollment in each college is up, except for the College of Technology, whose undergraduate enrollment is down 3 percent compared to Spring 2008. The college’s graduate enrollment is also down 9.7 percent.

The statistics show, in general, there are more women enrolled than men. Some colleges have a larger gender gap compared to others.

For example, the College of Nursing has 2,041 women enrolled as opposed to 334 men. A few colleges, however, have more men, such as the College of Business Administration, which currently enrolls 2,262 men and 1,509 women.

“Historically, we have been around 60-40 (women to men),” Goldsmith said. He thinks more men will go to college in the future.

“Now that there aren’t as many opportunities for direct employment, education is a choice for folks to better prepare themselves for better economic times,” Goldsmith said.

He said he expects enrollment to continue growing, but “the economy is the big unknown.”

“Historically, college has been a good place to go when the economy is bad,” Goldsmith said. “It is a time to develop skills (and) perhaps brush up on skills with the assumption that when the economy turns around, the students will be in a better position to take advantage of better opportunities.

“It is a way to prepare yourself for a better future,” he said.

Contact student affairs reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].