Enrollment numbers rise for freshmen, fall for regional campuses

Sophie Young, Reporter

The freshman class and international student population has returned to pre-pandemic size, but enrollment across Kent State’s eight-campus system is down.

The Board of Trustees presented data at Wednesday’s meeting, sharing that 5,075 freshmen arrived on the Kent campus for the fall semester. This is a 7 percent increase from last year and the largest since 2018.

Despite the hike in first-year statistics, full-time enrollment is down, decreasing by 2.5 percent on the Kent Campus and by 4.6% across the whole Kent State system.

“Being down a total of 1,300 students, that means a decline of… roughly 9 to 10 million dollars in revenue, about 1.5% of our total budget,” said President Todd Diacon during his information session called “Talking with Todd.”

The Board of Trustees reported this was typical for regional campuses across Ohio. Peggy Shadduck, vice president for regional campuses, is working to complete a plan to address lower enrollment.

The freshman class statistics represent some successes for the university; 34 percent of freshmen are first-generation students, 19 percent are from underrepresented groups and about 14 percent are part of the largest-ever incoming honors class.

“Our incoming freshman class is 19% diverse students,” Diacon said. “Just to give you some context for that, when I began at Kent State in 2012, our freshman class that year was 12% diverse.”

Trustee Robert S. Frost, chairman of the Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee, presented the committee’s report at the Board of Trustees meeting. He explained Vice President for Enrollment Management Sean Broghammer’s findings.

“Vice President Broghammer reported data on the first year student cohort where he emphasized that the incoming undergraduate class is the most diverse class in history,” Frost said. “He emphasized Kent State’s recruitment priorities which included increasing enrollment across Ohio, having a larger focus on community-based organizations and strengthening academic quality, messages and experiences.”

Numbers for international students rose by about 250 students, an increase following the same return to pre-pandemic heights as freshman enrollment.

“And then our international enrollment – you know we’ve always prided ourselves on things international – is way up,” Diacon said. “It’s up 40%, and really I want to thank our office of global education and our admissions folks for that.”

Sophie Young is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]