While spring 1998 enrollment at Kent State University's main campus is up only slightly from last year, more students are taking advantage of opportunities at its regional campuses.
Total enrollment for spring semester increased by 1 percent, from 28,601 in spring 1997 to 28,910 this year, according to the KSU Office for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
Of that, there was only a .03 percent increase _ five students _ at the main campus from 1997, bringing its total to 19,348 enrolled there.
However, the biggest increase came at the seven regional campuses, which saw a total of 297 new students, a 3.2 percent increase, bringing enrollment from 9,265 in spring 1997 to 9,562 this year.
Gordon Keller, vice provost for the regional campuses, said he is pleased with the growth and credited KSU President Carol Cartwright with renewed interest in the regional campuses.
"I think she's been very supportive of the regional campuses and interested in the program," he said. "There is always some variation, but I think that we've seen a slow, steady growth in enrollment at the regional campuses over a period of some years."
Keller said there may be greater retention because KSU is focusing more on making students feel comfortable.
"We're paying more attention to students, caring more about them," he said. "A lot of our students are not 18, 19 years old. A lot of them are older and come to use with different needs and perspectives.
"If you begin with an orientation focusing on how to help (students) be successful, that's part of the key to why we have better retention," he added. "It's part of the key to how we get students here and graduated, which is what we're trying to do."
While enrollment at most of the regional campuses increased, including Geauga's which rose 9 percent from last year, two campuses have seen a decline.
The Stark campus lost 32 students, for a 1.3 percent decline, and 56 students left the East Liverpool campus for a 6.8 percent decline.
"I don't know that I can read too much into (the declines)," Keller said. "We're paying attention to see if there are things that we should be doing that we're not. (The decline at) East Liverpool may have to do with the classes we are able to offer."
While enrollment at the Stark campus is down, its full-time enrollment, which shows that students are taking more classes, is up by 2 1/2 percent, he said.
Full-time enrollment also increased by .5 percent, from 14,998 in spring 1997, to 15,085 in 1998, at the Kent campus.
"We had our first increase in several years on the Kent campus last fall, and the fact that we have maintained that effort is a very positive for the university," said Nancy Scott, vice president and dean for enrollment management and student affairs. "As state resources dwindle, recruitment and retention of our students are vital."