Students attend regional campuses

Justin Metz

Increased degree options, weak economy among main factors

The Ashtabula campus is showing its highest enrollment to date, with a 2.78 percent increase in total enrollment from last fall. The number of students enrolled full-time has increased by 5.3 percent.

The price difference between regional campuses and the main campus is something that many students are finding hard to ignore. This year, classes at regional campuses are $217 per credit hour, compared to $384 per credit hour at the main campus.

Ashanti Alexander, senior applied communications major, was a student at the main campus her freshman year, but later transferred to a regional campus.

“My mom told me to go to a regional campus in the first place,” Alexander said. “But I really wanted to get away.”

After completing her freshman year, Alexander chose to leave the main campus and enroll at the Stark campus.

“The cost outweighed the benefit for me,” she said. “Wanting to save money, I looked at the Stark branch.”

Alexander said she enjoys the small, personal atmosphere that a regional campus provides. Her applied communication degree is one that can be completed at the Stark campus.

While there is no doubt that low costs attract students, Anthony said new degree programs are also drawing in students who may not have considered regional campuses before. This is evidenced by the increased number of traditional students, those younger than 25, who have enrolled at the Ashtabula campus.

“Students are able to complete more bachelor degrees here than they have before,” Anthony said. “If they’re not able to complete the degree they would like here at a regional campus, they know they can at least start.”

The Ashtabula campus currently offers eight bachelor’s degrees that can be completed on campus.

Students are not the only ones recognizing the advantages of regional campuses. Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut acknowledged the importance of developing regional campuses in his 10-year plan for higher education, released earlier this year.

In his plan, Fingerhut proposed making “high-quality associate and bachelor’s programs in core fields” available within 30 miles of every Ohioan. To accomplish this goal, Fingerhut said that existing regional campuses and community colleges must be utilized.

The ultimate goal of the 10-year plan for higher education is to increase Ohio university enrollment and keep more graduates in Ohio.

“The record enrollment reflects the successful efforts of our staff members and faculty on campus to make a valuable Kent State University degree attainable,” Anthony said.

Contact regional campus reporter Justin Metz at [email protected].