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Retention Strategies Deliver Results; Record-High Spring Enrollment Achieved

Posted Jan. 30, 2012
enter photo description
Kent State University has set a new record high for spring
recorded enrollment with 40,398 students for the spring
2012 semester, breaking last year’s record. Pictured are
Kent State students studying in the new Kent State University
Math Emporium, a state-of-the-art computerized learning
center designed to equip students with the mathematical
knowledge they will need on their path to graduation.

Answering the call by Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro to retain and graduate more students, Kent State University’s official 15th-day census data for the eight-campus system showed that retention strategies are having an impact on student success and delivering results.

The data, which was released last week, showed that Kent State set a new record high for spring recorded enrollment, breaking last year’s record. Kent State reported 40,398 students for the spring 2012 semester, compared to 39,936 for spring semester 2011, representing an increase of 1.16 percent.

“We are staying the course with student success being our number one goal,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “We must keep the momentum going and continue to improve student retention and persistence to timely graduation. As Northeast Ohio’s leader in graduation among public universities, we will continue to innovate and collaborate to ensure every student is a success.”

“Congratulations to Kent State,” Chancellor Jim Petro says. “I commend the university’s leadership and employees for their dedication to their students and efforts to increase enrollment, retention and especially, graduation rates.”

Retention strategies that the university put into action include the opening of the new Kent State University Math Emporium, a state-of-the-art computerized learning center designed to equip students with the mathematical knowledge they will need on their path to graduation; the Graduation Planning System, or GPS, that tracks student progress to graduation with new enhancements that allow students to see all requirements for earning a degree with an individualized plan of study; the expansion of tutoring and student support services at the Academic Success Center; and the Center for Student Involvement’s “What’s Up Kent State?” initiative that encourages students to participate in on-campus events and earn FLASHperks reward points for activities.

The entire university community is engaged in retention efforts. Kent State held a universitywide symposium on student success that focused on retention and persistence and featured keynote speaker Dr. George Kuh, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at Indiana University and founding director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The Office of Student Success Programs has held a series of sessions to give faculty members access to tools and resources to help support their students and achieve success. Special communications are being sent to stakeholders. For example, parents of Kent State freshmen received a mailing, along with a copy of Kent State Magazine, that offered tips on how to talk to their child about their college experience and highlighted available resources to help their student succeed. The university’s Dining Services hosted a special party for returning freshmen last week to celebrate the students and recognize their completion of their first semester of college.

Highlights from the spring 2012 enrollment numbers include:

  • Unduplicated (or preponderant) headcount at the Kent Campus is 25,773, and the unduplicated headcount for the regional campuses is 14,625. Students are counted only once at the campus at which they hold the majority of their course load.
  • Enrollment at the Kent Campus has increased by 3.47 percent (preponderant).
  • The persistence spring 2012 undergraduates (fall 2011 first-time, full-time freshmen who have persisted and registered for spring 2012 classes) at the Kent Campus is 93.8 percent.
  • Of the regional campuses, the Geauga Campus had the largest percent increase in the number of students with 1.13 percent (preponderant).
  • The enrollment of international students increased 34.75 percent to 1,927 students compared to 1,430 in spring 2011.
  • Graduate enrollment has increased by 3.80 percent (preponderant).

“In addition to the release of these strong enrollment figures, I’m very encouraged by the increase of fall 2012 applications, particularly with 3.0 high school grade point averages,” says T. David Garcia, Kent State’s associate vice president for enrollment management. “To date, we have seen a 40 percent increase in applications compared to this time last year. Under President Lefton’s leadership and the great work of our admissions personnel, faculty and staff, we continue to see an increasing number of people who want a Kent State education.”

Kent State University’s eight campuses are located in Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Kent, Salem, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas.

For the full spring enrollment report, go to www.kent.edu/rpie/enrollment.