Kent State enrollment applications down

Rachel Abbey

Applications to Kent State are down slightly this year, said Pete Goldsmith, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and the increasing popularity of online applications could be at least partially to blame.

About 70 percent of prospective students now apply to Kent State online, he said. This has grown rapidly in the last three or four years.

While students often say it is more convenient, online applications have caused some complications for the university. More competition among universities and the rising cost of a college education are causing an actual decline in enrollment, Goldsmith said, but online applications may be causing students to apply later.

Many prospective students will complete their application, but fail to pay the fee or send a transcript until later, Goldsmith said. They are not considered to have officially applied to the university until all of their materials are received.

“They will tend to fill out or start more applications because they can do it online,” he said.

When freshman nutrition major Melanie Poinar decided to go to Kent State, she filled out her application online.

“I didn’t have to request for them to send me one,” Poinar said. “I could do it literally whenever I wanted.”

While Poinar said she paid the fee immediately and e-mailed her counselor, asking to send her transcript at the same time she completed her application, it’s not as easy for all students.

Sophomore nursing major Alecia McNeely transferred from Youngstown State this spring. She said she applied online, but had a hard time getting her transcripts together because she needed them from her high school as well as Youngstown State.

The amount of students who attend the Placement, Advising and Scheduling System program, may be an even better indicator of future enrollment than number of applicants, President Carol Cartwright said.

The numbers for this year’s PASS attendees are also down a little, said Charles Rickard, associate vice president for enrollment services. Official numbers will not be released until April.

Most students have completed their applications at this time, said David Creamer, vice president for administration. The university bases next year’s tuition on the expected enrollment. With fewer applications and PASS attendees and a large graduating class, it looks as if enrollment will decline again next year.

The university is expecting about a 3 percent decline in enrollment, Creamer said. At this time, more students might apply, but the university has to look at how many students it would take to reverse the proposed decline, and it is not likely.

Goldsmith said he thinks the university will be close to its enrollment goal when the semester begins. Some years, students just apply later, and there is no telling why that is.

Cartwright said the university is working on hundreds of enrollment and recruitment initiatives to attract students, including more learning communities and different advising approaches.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected]