Kent State University has hit its enrollment ceiling for new freshman at its main campus for the second time in three years.
The university said Monday it has closed enrollment to new freshmen, although other students — such as transfer and upper-division students — still are being accepted on the Kent campus.
About 4,500 freshmen have committed to come to the Kent campus this fall and 4,200 of them actually will show up, university spokesman Eric Mansfield said.
T. David Garcia, associate vice president for enrollment management, said the university is building enrollment by recruiting better students.
“From an enrollment management perspective, it takes years upon years,” he said. “You have to build your application pool to be more selective.”
About four years ago, KSU hired additional student recruiters and has been offering more merit-based scholarship money to the students it wants.
It offered $31 million in scholarships to freshmen applicants this fall, almost 30 percent more than the previous year. Students will accept $12 million to $13 million of that money, about $1 million more than last fall.
The strategy seemed to work: This fall, nearly 75 percent of the incoming KSU students will bring with them a grade-point average of at least 3.0, or B, according to a university media release.
KSU’s success in recruiting comes amid a serious challenge for all colleges and universities statewide: The pool of high school graduates — the bread and butter of most freshman classes — is dropping.
University of Akron
Enrollment at the University of Akron dropped 3.5 percent last fall and is projected to drop another 4 percent this fall, spokeswoman Eileen Korey said.
Part of the reason for the decline is that UA is steering weaker students to community colleges, where they might have a better shot at succeeding.
Korey said 275 applicants have been directed elsewhere for the fall semester.
“We continue to have more capacity to admit students,” she said.
In addition, all colleges and universities statewide face another challenge: public unhappiness about the high cost of college and rising student debt. Nationwide, that figure totals about $1 trillion.
That means that some colleges are holding down tuition. Ohio State and University of Toledo, for example, have frozen 2013 tuition at 2012 levels. University of Cincinnati trustees will consider a similar freeze at their next meeting, which is later this month.
UA trustees will consider tuition and fees at their meeting Wednesday. Kent State trustees have not set 2013-2014 tuition and fees.
Although enrollment at the Kent campus is closed to incoming freshmen, students can enroll on the main campus next spring or the seven regional campuses this fall.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.