KSU working to expand out-of-state enrollment

Rachel Abbey

The New York Times recently ran an article about the shrinking student population in states such as New York, Maine and Vermont. The article said because of the decreased enrollment, public universities in these states have been recruiting students from out of state to bring in extra money through higher tuition.

While Kent State has not been experiencing a decrease in enrollment, said Mark Ledoux, associate director of the Office of Admissions, the university still wants to attract out-of-state students.

“It helps to increase the diversity of the student body,” Ledoux said.

The university’s level of in-state applicants is about equal to what it was last year at this time, Ledoux said. The amount of out-of-state applicants has risen about 3 percent.

Prior to this year, Ledoux said, the university experienced five or six years of continuous application growth. This year, the number of applications has leveled off.

Because Kent State is a state supported institution, out-of-state students do not provide extra revenue, Ledoux said, because they do not bring in the state money an in-state student would. The out-of-state surcharge is about equal to the state money brought in by an Ohio student.

This higher tuition could serve as a unwanted deterrent to out-of-state students. To better appeal to these students, the university offers the University Award program, which offers financial aid to lower out-of-state surcharges. The award grants each eligible student $3,500 per year, reducing the out-of-state surcharge by 50 percent, said Charles Rickard, associate vice president for Enrollment Services.

“I created the program to enable the university to attract academically talented students from other states,” Rickard said.

The program aims to diversify the student body and to increase the university’s national presence, Rickard said.

The university assumes out-of-state students tend to return to their home states after graduation, Ledoux said, spreading the university’s reputation.

The fall 2004 semester brought in approximately 500 out-of-state freshmen, Rickard said. The university has been targeting states where there has been increased enrollment growth. Currently, 17 states are involved in the University Award Program, from states as near as Pennsylvania and Indiana to as far across the country as Texas and California.

The university began new recruiting methods this year, Ledoux said. Increased mailings to students, parents and counselors; personal telephone calls by Kent State alumni; and recruitment receptions were made in areas with large known alumni populations.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].