Transfer made easy: area student enrolls full-time after completing free classes through cross-registration program
Aileena Ferguson expects to complete her bachelor’s degree in half the time, thanks to the cross-registration program between Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College.
A summer transfer applicant to Kent State University at Stark, the 21-year-old will begin taking courses full-time in the fall. That’s after the completion of an associate’s degree at Stark State College and more than a semester’s worth of free Kent State courses.
By taking a free class each semester at Kent State Stark while attending community college, Ferguson has saved more than $2,800.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” said Ferguson of the cross-registration program. “And, for me, it really made my commute from Akron worth the drive. I’ll have my associate’s degree in May, and I’ve been working toward my bachelor’s degree at the same time.”
Paul Wells, an advisor of enrollment management and student services at Kent State Stark, works to foster a strong relationship between the university and Stark State College. The cross-registration program creates a unique partnership connecting the two institutions.
“Full-time Stark State College students can enroll in a tuition-free course at Kent State Stark, and vice versa,” Wells explained. “I am particularly impressed by Aileena’s diligent planning of the pursuit of her bachelor’s degree, including taking the initiative to begin enrolling in Kent State University courses prior to graduation from Stark State.
“Her ability to successfully complete 15 credit hours of Kent State courses at no cost of tuition has not only accelerated her path to graduation, but enhanced the affordability of higher education.”
Ferguson graduated from Akron City Schools’ Ellet High School in 2015. She began taking courses in 2016 at Kent State Stark, through the cross-registration program.
“It just makes sense. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t take advantage of this great program,” she said. “It makes an affordable college education that much more affordable. I also like how personal the professors are at both schools. They take the time to answer my questions, and they realize we are also dealing with real-life issues outside of the classroom.”
Ferguson plans to major in studio ceramics and minor in psychology at Kent State Stark. Coupled with her associate’s degree from Stark State College in business management, she plans to establish her career in the field of art therapy. One day, Ferguson hopes to open her own studio.
“I’ve always enjoyed art,” she said. “My grandpa used to encourage me to draw, but it wasn’t until high school that I started working with clay. Then, I took a ceramics class at Kent State Stark, and I loved it. I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to do.”
Growing up, Ferguson learned firsthand that art could help people, especially when they are battling an illness.
“When I was a teenager, I got really sick a few times. While at the children’s hospital, I kept thinking how it would be tough to be here all of time. I thought about art, and how much I love it, and how it can provide an outlet, an escape from pain or whatever it is that you are going through.”
For Ferguson, changing the perspective of a sick child is how she will make her mark on the world, one piece of artwork at a time. That journey from Ellet High School began with a first step. It continues this fall as a full-time student at Kent State Stark.