Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Significant Tuition Reduction for In-State Podiatric Medicine Students
The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved a revised tuition rate for students enrolled at the university’s College of Podiatric Medicine at the Board’s regular quarterly meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Rockwell Hall on the Kent Campus. The Board approved reducing tuition for the college by nearly $14,000 for Ohio resident students – a decrease of more than 30% – from the current tuition rate. The new tuition rate is effective for the 2024 Spring Semester. Yearly tuition for in-state podiatric medicine students will drop to $32,095 from $45,961. This tuition reduction makes Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine tuition the lowest among all 11 U.S. podiatric colleges for Ohioans.
For the first time, students from Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine are now eligible to receive funds from the state of Ohio to help subsidize their tuition. Unlike other medical students attending public universities in Ohio, students in the university’s podiatric program have not received a subsidy to defer costs associated with their education. This issue was resolved on July 4, 2023, when Gov. Mike DeWine signed the biennium budget bill for fiscal years 2024-2025. The new budget included a provision to consider Kent State College of Podiatric Medicine students as eligible for State Share of Instruction funding under the Medical I funding line item.
Inclusion in this funding line will provide approximately $3.4 million in annual state subsidy that will be used to significantly decrease tuition for Ohio residents while expanding clinical and research opportunities for its students. The Board also approved decreasing tuition for the college’s out-of-state students by $3,139. Out-of-state tuition will be set at $42,832 effective 2024 Spring Semester.
Board Welcomes Class of 2027, Congratulates University for Strong Enrollment
The Board welcomed the Class of 2027 during the meeting and congratulated the university administration for this year’s strong enrollment. Kent State is celebrating the rise in Kent Campus enrollment for the first time in 10 years along with another strong freshman class and improved retention rates on both the Kent and Regional Campuses. The Class of 2027 has arrived boasting strong academic success and in strong numbers (4,226 students), helping to boost the Kent Campus enrollment by more than 200 students over the previous year.
The freshman class on the Kent Campus is one of the 10 largest incoming classes in the university’s 113-year history. One in three students (33%) in the freshman class is a first-generation student, and nearly one in five (a record 20.1%) is underrepresented, which includes African American, Hispanic, Native American and multiracial students. One in seven new students is a member of the largest incoming group of new students accepted into Kent State’s Honors College.
Kent State’s strong retention (79.7%) of returning first-year students to the Kent Campus represents a 1.2% increase and is being celebrated along with a 3.7% increase in the retention of first-year students on the university’s Regional Campuses.
Enrollment for the fall semester is 33,530 for Kent State’s eight-campus system and 25,283 for the Kent Campus alone. Altogether, the university’s current enrollment boasts students from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 101 countries.
Board Approves Establishment of Legal Entity in France
The Board approved the establishment and registration of a limited private company, designated as a Société par actions simplifiée (SAS), that can serve as a strategic starting point for establishing an education-abroad location in Paris, France. Paris long has been an education-abroad destination for Kent State students in the School of Fashion. In recent years, demand for this location has increased for the school and students in other programs.
In order for Kent State to be allowed to operate in France, it is necessary to be legally incorporated in France. This SAS will allow Kent State to establish an education-abroad destination and conduct related activities while remaining compliant with local laws. Kent State has exhibited similar success through its use of a legal presence in Florence, Italy; Geneva, Switzerland, and New Delhi, India.
The SAS will be administered through the Office of the Provost. Its mission is to establish an education-abroad program in the city of Paris. This will continue to enhance the ability for Kent State students to be exposed to broader cultural environments through education abroad. Paris will offer specific opportunities to students in areas such as fashion, architecture, art and music. The vice president for global education will have oversight responsibilities of the SAS.
Board Approves Naming of Susan J. Stocker Hall, Hears Other Naming Action
In recognition of the generosity and commitment of James E. Mayer Jr. and Glen and Nancy Warner for their gifts toward a $500,000 endowment, the Board approved naming the main building at Kent State University at Ashtabula as Susan J. Stocker Hall. The lead donors hold in high esteem Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., who served as the dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Ashtabula for 21 years. Stocker was the longest-serving dean in Kent State’s history. During her tenure as dean, Stocker oversaw a period of substantial growth and expansion at the Ashtabula Campus. The Board expressed sincere appreciation to Mayer and the Warners for their generosity.
The Board also heard one naming action that has been approved by the university president, who has the Board’s delegated authority to approve philanthropic naming opportunities with a total value or cost under $100,000. Dale G. Konicek graduated from Kent State in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management. He is the owner/principal of Magellan Investment Advisory Group. In recognition of his $25,000 commitment, a faculty office in the Department of Management in Crawford Hall, the future home of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, will be named the Dr. Dale G. Konicek ’81 Office.
Board Approves New University Budget for Fiscal Year 2024
The Board approved a $687.5 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The new budget recognizes the importance of affordability and encouraging student success. It addresses critical commitments and strategic investments and reflects the keen emphasis the Board and the university community have placed on effectiveness, efficiency and resource optimization. The balanced university budget is the result of dedicated leadership and strategic focus by all of Kent State’s stakeholders.
The budget is based on key revenue assumptions that include:
- State Share of Instruction (SSI) is projected at $158.9 million, a decrease of $2.2 million from the prior year budget.
- Tuition and fee revenue is projected at $389.5 million, which is $4 million more than the approved Fiscal Year 2023 budget and is the product of a conservative enrollment projection (1% increase on the Kent Campus and 4% decrease on the Regional Campuses) coupled with a 3% increase in tuition for the fall 2023 cohort under the tuition guarantee; 0% increase for continuing students not included in the tuition guarantee; and 4% for graduate tuition, the graduate non-resident surcharge and the undergraduate nonresident surcharge.
- Auxiliary enterprises have returned to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in $19.1 million more in auxiliary revenues.
- Investment income of $15.1 million dedicated to the current funds, unrestricted budget.
- All other major revenue categories are projected to increase by $3.5 million, in the aggregate.
The budget is also based on key expense assumptions that include:
- The university will continue to dedicate significant resources to fund financial aid, with particular focus on students with the greatest financial need.
- The university’s budget for employee compensation includes increases in accordance with collective bargaining agreements as well as a 3% salary pool for non-represented employees.
- Healthcare benefits expense is expected to increase by 5% due to the cost of inflation offset by fewer faculty/staff participating in the plan due to separation plans and attrition.
- Significant inflationary increases in non-personnel expenses such as utilities ($1.4 million), insurance ($1 million) and software agreements ($1.5 million).
Board Praises President Diacon in Annual Review
Board members commended Kent State President Todd Diacon for his outstanding, steady leadership. This is Diacon’s fourth review as university president. He began serving as Kent State’s 13th president on July 1, 2019.
In reviewing Diacon’s 2022-2023 goals and accomplishments, the Board recognized Kent State’s impressive progress in student success and affordability, academic and research programs, community impact, fundraising and stewardship of organizational resources.
The Board has determined that Diacon has earned the full amount of the annual performance incentive in his employment agreement effective April 29, 2019, and that his employment shall continue as previously authorized by the Board with a 3% increase in base salary for the 2023-2024 year.
Among other Board actions:
- The Board confirmed the conferral of a total of 5,062 degrees from spring 2023 on those Kent State students who have been officially recorded by the University Registrar as having completed the requirements of their respective programs of study during the period of Dec. 17, 2022, to May 13, 2023.
- The Board passed a resolution of appreciation to Lamar R. Hylton, Ph.D., who joined Kent State in 2017 as dean of students. He rose steadily through the Division of Student Affairs (now the Division of Student Life) serving as the interim and then permanent vice president for student affairs before advancing to senior vice president for student affairs in 2021. During his tenure, Hylton played a key role in advancing Kent State as a students-first university, enhancing the quality of the student experience, promoting student success and fostering inclusion. He left Kent State on Aug. 31, 2023, to become vice provost for student life at Indiana University Bloomington. The Board expressed deep gratitude to Hylton for his contributions to the student experience and the advancement of Kent State and wishes him success in his future endeavors.
- The Board approved corridor improvements for the Center for the Performing Arts on the Kent Campus. The center, home to the College of the Arts, was originally constructed in 1960. The corridors serving the School of Music were not included in previous building improvements and are original to the construction of the building. The project will provide a refresh of the architectural finishes, removal of lockers in select locations and deliver a space that is bright and inviting for students. The total cost of the project is $1 million, which the university has budgeted from local funds. Construction is anticipated to be completed in summer 2024.
- The Board adopted a resolution in support for ending the practice of transcript withholding for unpaid student balances at Kent State and directed that the approved resolution be provided to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Section 3345.027. Of the nearly 33,000 transcripts requested annually at Kent State, less than 2% have had a transcript held due to an outstanding student balance, and the university relies upon other practices, such as referring past-due balances to the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, for collection. The Board concurs that ending the practice of transcript withholding at Kent State will promote Ohio’s postsecondary attainment and workforce goals and help students complete their educations.
- The Board approved the following inactivations:
- The College of Arts and Sciences will inactivate the Biology major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2023. The major was established in 1988, and the college suspended admission to the major in 2017 due to inactivity. Students instead have elected to enroll in the Master of Arts degree in Biology with several concentrations, including medical biology and biological data analytics.
- The College of Arts and Sciences will inactivate the German major within the Master of Arts degree, effective fall 2023. For the past 20 years, the master’s program has been consistently under-enrolled, averaging one student each fall. German courses will continue to be offered to support the undergraduate programs and the graduate Translation majors.
- The Board approved a special surcharge rate for non-Ohio residents displaced from their home countries due to war, conflict or disaster. On April 13, 2023, the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education issued Directive 2023-19 authorizing colleges and universities to reduce the out-of-state surcharge for students who have been displaced from their home countries due to war, conflict or disaster. The Board authorized the special out-of-state surcharge rate of $1 per term for students who are asylees, refugees and students on a temporary protected status (TPS) as a result of a current world situation involving war, conflict or disasters, effective for the 2023-2024 academic year, the 2024-2025 academic year and any summer terms that begin prior to June 30, 2025, subject to any required approvals from the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
- The Board approved a 2% adjustment to the pay structure for unrepresented classified civil service staff, unclassified administrative and professional exempt staff and unclassified nonexempt staff not represented in a bargaining unit for Fiscal Year 2024. The pay structures associated with the compensation plans are reviewed and amended periodically to reflect changes in economic and market conditions. The structure adjustments are effective with the pay period that includes Oct. 1, 2023.
- The Board approved the university entering into a second amendment to the ground lease with the Board of Education of the Berkshire Local School District to add approximately 7.4 acres of surplus university real estate property to the leased parcel. The school district is requesting the additional acres for the purpose of constructing athletic fields for baseball and soccer. The school district originally leased 30.6 acres of real property on the Geauga Campus from the university for the construction of a pre-K-12 public educational facility that opened in 2022. In September 2021, the school district requested and received a lease amendment to add an additional 3.55 acres of Kent State real property to construct an athletic stadium and track.
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Top Photo Caption:
Students studying at Kent State University's College of Podiatric Medicine review foot X-rays.
Emily Vincent, email@example.com, 330-672-8595