Taking your time? You’re not alone

Kate Bigam

Fewer than 20 percent of Kent State students graduate in four years

A mere 16.3 percent of Kent State students graduate within four years.

This statistic comes from College Results Online, a Web site that allows users to look up graduation rates of any four-year university in the country and compare them to other universities. All statistics come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Graduation Rate Survey. The most recent data is from 2004.

The Web site, sponsored by national nonprofit organization The Education Trust, ranks overall graduation rates on a six-year scale, scoring Kent State’s graduation rate at 48.9 percent. This statistic places the university fifth out of Ohio’s 10 public four-year colleges, with Miami University in the first place position.

Fifth-year ceramics major Julie Hartman said because she has been in school for so long, she has lost much of the motivation she once had to do well in classes.

“I guess it’s nice to take your time, and some people aren’t ready to get into the professional world that quick,” Hartman said. “But most people don’t even know what they want to do at first, and a lot of majors now make it so you have to follow this exact formula of classes or you won’t graduate on time, and they throw a lot of run-around on you.”

Hartman, who transferred to Kent State from Bowling Green, said she will not graduate for at least two more years.

Bart Sullivan, library and information science graduate student, said he feels the university does a good job of helping students figure out which classes to take to graduate on time, both as undergraduate and graduate students.

“Most of my professors this semester have told us what we should take and how to get them taken as soon as possible so we don’t have to take more than 36 hours to graduate,” Sullivan said.

As an undergraduate, Sullivan changed his major from journalism to English but still graduated within four years because many of his electives overlapped with classes for his new major. He acknowledged that his situation was somewhat rare.

President Lester Lefton has said he will work to raise Kent State’s graduation rate in an effort to achieve student success and academic excellence, his two top priorities at the university. By increasing retention, he said he hopes more students will obtain degrees from Kent State.

Lefton said he wants Kent State graduates to be qualified to compete with students from prestigious schools in California, New York and Great Britain, not just against students from Akron and Cleveland State.

“I want our students to be able to compete anywhere,” Lefton said.

The College Results Online statistics do not include data of students who transfer to other universities but acknowledges this information may seriously diminish graduation rates at universities with high numbers of outbound transfer students.

According to College Results Online, 25.3 percent of students who start out at Kent State transfer to another university before graduation.

“I’m concerned about the small group of people who don’t stay here and what we can do to educate them,” Lefton said about transfer students.

At last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, however, Lefton expressed his assurance in the quality of a Kent State education.

“I am confident that we’re on the right track of dreaming new dreams because I’m confident that academic excellence comes first at Kent State,” he said. “It’s all about student success. That’s job number one.”

Contact administration reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected].


Kent State’s graduation rates:

By Gender:

• Male: 45 percent

• Female: 51.4 percent

By Ethnicity:

• Caucasian: 50.2 percent

• African-American: 33.2 percent

• Asian: 66.7 percent

• Latino: 51.3 percent

• Native American: N/A

Source: College Results Online