Kent State spring enrollment declines

Total student enrollment decreased for the Spring 2006 semester, according to the division of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

Compared to the Spring 2005 semester, Spring 2006 saw a decline of 736 students, or 2.23 percent in total student enrollment at all eight Kent State campuses.

Michael Sperko, institutional data and information director for RPIE, said the decrease was expected.

“After eight straight years of growth, a drop was expected,” he said. “We were down in the fall and down in the spring again.”

Sperko added that the College of Education suffered the worst drop in undergraduate enrollment, dropping a little more than 12 percent.

Several colleges reported growth at both undergraduate and graduate levels, including the College of Communication and Information, which increased 0.61 percent in undergraduate student growth, and 2.83 percent graduate student growth.

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design reported an undergraduate growth of 8.7 percent, or 52 students, and a graduate student increase of 11 students, though they represent a 22 percent increase.

The College of Arts and Sciences also reported an undergraduate growth of 0.55 percent, but with a graduate student decrease of 0.97 percent.

Minority student retention

While student retention has dropped over the course of the past academic year, minority student retention has drastically decreased over the past semester.

According to data provided by RPIE, enrollment among all undergraduate minorities has decreased from the fall semester of 2005 to the spring semester of 2006.

The largest drop is among black students, whose enrollment fell from 1,492 students to 1,316 students – an 11.8 percent decrease.

Matthew Cox, president of Black United Students, said the university needs to address financial issues in order to help increase minority retention.

“I’ve seen a lot of friends leave school for financial reasons,” Cox said. “The university does not try hard enough to help students financially.”

Cox also said increasing the amount of minority professors who work for the university would help keep minority students enrolled.

He said if minority students couldn’t identify in their environment, they would probably leave.

Diedre Badejo, chair of Pan-African Studies, said Kent State needs to raise questions about funding, social climate and programming in order to successfully determine why students are leaving the university.

“You don’t know how to fix something until you know what’s broken,” Badejo said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ben Breier at [email protected]

Contact academic affairs reporter Derek Lenehan at [email protected]