Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton said he has never been more confident that a major investment in the university and the surrounding downtown area will make a significant impact on the regionâ€™s future, but he also admits he is simultaneously concerned for thousands of students who rely on Federal Pell Grants to attend college.
In a recent interview with WKYC-TV (Channel 3), Lefton said that downtown and university investments have already created more than 1,000 jobs through ongoing public-private partnerships.
â€œItâ€™s an amazing time at Kent State,â€ Lefton said. â€œWeâ€™re becoming the new American college city.â€
The ongoing university facelift features plans for new buildings and revitalized classroom, laboratory, studio, performance, living and studying spaces, as well as extending the Kent State University Esplanade into downtown Kent, where already new shops, restaurants, businesses, and soon a hotel and conference center are creating a vibrant, new connection between the university and the city.
Yet, even with those major steps forward, Lefton said he is concerned for students whose school funding could be dramatically impacted should leaders in Washington be unable to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.
â€œPell Grants are $5,500 a year,â€ Lefton said. â€œIf all of a sudden there were cuts to Pell Grants, our neediest students, who are often some our brightest students, would probably withdraw.â€
About 20,000 students, or nearly half of the entire Kent State student population, rely on Pell Grants, Lefton said.
For more information about Kent State, visit www.kent.edu.
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Eric Mansfield, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-2797