Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Updated Complete College Ohio Campus Completion Plan, Sets Fall Tuition

The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved the updated Kent State Complete College Ohio Campus Completion Plan as part of a state and institutional commitment to increase dramatically the number of college degrees awarded in Ohio. The plan was approved during the Board’s regular quarterly meeting held May 22 at the university’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Kent State remains committed to improving student success while keeping true to its mission of providing accessible education for the citizens of Ohio and beyond. The university supports and expands the state’s educational and workforce development initiatives in the broadest and most meaningful sense. As required every two years, the university has updated its completion plan and has received approval from the Board to submit the updated plan to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The university’s 2024 Campus Completion Plan provides an update on the progress made toward goals established in 2014 (including related completion strategies) and identifies the university’s goals to increase retention and persistence over the next two years. New completion goals align with Kent State’s A Strategic Roadmap for a Distinctive Kent State, as approved by the Board on May 25, 2022.

Since 2014, Kent State has made significant progress toward these goals, including:

  • The retention rate on the Kent Campus is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently 79.7% compared to the 77.6% benchmark noted in the initial Campus Completion Plan.
  • While Regional Campuses experienced a decrease in retention rate during the COVID-19 pandemic (53% in 2020), the 2022 retention rate is 56.6%.
  • The Kent Campus six-year graduation rate for all first-time, full-time students is 65.9%.

Completion goals established for the upcoming biennium align with Kent State’s strategic roadmap and the Students First priority. These goals include:

  • Implement student success tactics in the Academic Affairs strategic plan, The Golden Road to Student Success.
  • Pilot Belonging Champions on the regional system to improve course outcomes and student retention/completion.
  • Establish and implement coordination of student success initiatives to eliminate duplication and prioritize retention and completion action items.

Board Approves Fall Tuition, Room and Meal Plan Rates

Under Tuition Guarantee Model

The Board approved tuition, room and meal plan rates under the Tuition Guarantee Model for the student cohort entering fall 2024 at rates not to exceed those authorized by Ohio House Bill 33 of the 135th General Assembly. The Kent State Tuition Guarantee is designed to provide students and their families a predictable and stable model for planning for the cost of a college degree. It provides all eligible new undergraduates – including new first-year students and new transfer students – and their families the certainty that resident tuition, room and meal plan charges will not increase during the ensuing four academic years from their first enrollment as degree-seeking students.

Tuition for the new fall 2024 cohort at the Kent Campus will be $6,526.80 per semester, an increase of 3%, or $190.10 per semester, compared to the fall 2023 cohort. The double room rate will be $4,030 per semester (an increase of 1.51%, or $60), and the most popular Blue meal plan will be $2,690 per semester (an increase of 5.49%, or $140). These costs will be frozen for four years for the fall 2024 cohort.

Not Under Tuition Guarantee Model

The Board also approved tuition and fees not covered under the Tuition Guarantee Model, effective fall 2024. The increases are needed to provide additional resources to preserve academic program quality and services to students as well as to provide additional resources for student financial aid. For continuing students who are not under the Tuition Guarantee Model, the state budget bill freezes undergraduate in-state tuition. The Kent Campus annualized full-time undergraduate tuition for continuing students is seventh of the 13 Ohio public universities. This lower tuition rate and continued investments made in institutional financial aid reflect the university’s ongoing commitment to affordability.

Non-Ohio residents are assessed a surcharge in addition to tuition. The Board approved an increase of 4%, or $189.40 per semester, in the undergraduate full-time rate effective for fall 2024.

To continue to offer quality academic programming and research opportunities, additional investments are needed in graduate programs. The Board approved increases in graduate tuition (4%) and the non-Ohio resident surcharge (4%). The impact of these increases is $22.90 per credit hour for graduate tuition and $19.80 per credit in the non-Ohio resident surcharge.

Board Approves New University Budget for Fiscal Year 2025

The Board approved a $703.6 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2025. The new budget recognizes the importance of affordability and encouraging student success, 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 Fiscal Year 2025 budget is based on key revenue assumptions that include:

  • State Share of Instruction is projected at $158.2 million, a decrease of $0.7 million from the prior year budget and consistent with the Fiscal Year 2024 forecast.
  • Tuition and fee revenue is projected at $406.4 million, which is $16.9 million more than the approved Fiscal Year 2024 university budget and is the product of a conservative enrollment projection coupled with the fall 2024 tuition and surcharge rates.
  • Auxiliary enterprises revenues are $2 million higher than the Fiscal Year 2024 budget due to modest fee increases and stable activity.
  • Investment income of $15.1 million is dedicated to the current funds, unrestricted budget.
  • All other major revenue categories are projected to decrease by $2 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 scholarships, 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 2% salary pool for nonrepresented employees.
  • Healthcare benefits expense is expected to increase by 10% due to the cost of inflation.

Board Approves Three Naming Actions

The Board approved naming a student meeting space within The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design the Grunley Strategy and Study Center in recognition of the generosity of Ken Grunley in providing new gifts totaling $1 million to benefit the Construction Management Program in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Grunley, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kent State in 1975, is the chief executive officer of Grunley Construction Company Inc., a construction firm based in Rockville, Maryland. His late wife, Virginia, earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Kent State in 1974.

The Board approved naming a classroom in Crawford Hall the Tim Carlisle Classroom in recognition of his new gifts to the university totaling $250,000 to benefit the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s ongoing capital needs. A 1974 Kent State graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Tim Carlisle has generously supported the college through philanthropy and service by previously establishing the Professor Allan Twark Endowment to provide scholarships to finance students and serving as a member of the Department of Finance Advisory Board.

The Board approved naming the house where the Wick Poetry Center is located the Gaston Prentice House in recognition of the generosity of Paul and Eileen Gaston in providing a new gift of $100,000 to benefit the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State. Paul Gaston served as the senior vice president and provost of Kent State from 1999 to 2007. Upon stepping down from his administrative position, he received the honor of appointment as Kent State’s sole Trustees Professor. The Gastons have provided generous support to the Wick Poetry Center’s capital and programming needs for many years.

The Board also heard additional naming actions that have 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. The president approved eight naming actions that recognize donors who gave in support of the Crawford Hall construction project and the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s ongoing capital needs:

  • The Joseph and Francine Artiste and Family Office recognizes a gift from Joseph and Francine Artiste.
  • The Fastenal Sales Team Lab recognizes a gift from the company Fastenal.
  • The Mary L. Gregory Printing Room recognizes a gift from Allen Gregory to honor his mother.
  • The Frank E. Vaughn Office recognizes gifts from the family and friends of Frank E. Vaughn.
  • The Beverly S. Bogen Office, the Pami B. Bogen Office, the Robert H. Bogen Office and the Max and Rose Reisman Office recognize a gift from Curt P. Bogen to honor his mother, sister, father and grandparents.

Among other Board actions:

  • The Board approved the renovation of Suite 120 in the Kent Student Center. The project will build out 5,200 square feet of office and support space on the first floor of the student center adjacent to the bookstore and the Golden Flash Bistro. This new suite will provide convenient and accessible office and support space for Kent Student Center and Center for Student Involvement staff. Currently, these functions are spread throughout the building and are difficult for students and visitors to locate. This consolidation will allow the team to better support and serve the student population. The renovation will continue the installation of life safety measures, including the fire suppression system (sprinklers) to the newly renovated suite. Kent State’s Division of Student Life has budgeted $1.6 million in local funds for this project, with construction expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year with full operations available for spring 2025.
  • The Board approved the vendor selection for a student search strategic partner. The sole-source contract with EAB will be for a term of three years at a total cost of $2.07 million funded by the Division of Enrollment Management’s operating budget. A significant change in this contract compared to the prior one is having Kent State’s Division of Enrollment Management take responsibility for creating and implementing a senior application strategy instead of contracting with EAB for those services. In the past, EAB provided support for lead generation, communicating with prospective students and soliciting application interest. The Division of Enrollment Management will incorporate the application interest activities into its current operations, which will be accomplished by using new and existing operating resources to deliver annual savings of $300,000 per year.
  • The Board authorized changes in a variety of special program, course and other fees, including the elimination of 193 fees. University staff, including executive officers, extensively reviewed the changes to the program, course and miscellaneous fees for fall 2024 for compliance with statutory requirements and to ensure that all are in the appropriate amounts and are necessary to protect program quality.
  • The Board approved the following inactivations:
    • The College of Applied and Technical Studies will inactivate the Agribusiness major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2024. The college suspended admission to the major in 2023 due to low enrollment. Based upon low enrollment trends in the four years prior to the suspension as well as poor financial performance, faculty at Kent State University at Tuscarawas, where the major was offered, voted to inactivate the program.
    • The College of Applied and Technical Studies will inactivate the Environmental Health and Safety major within the Associate of Applied Science degree, effective fall 2024. Offered at Kent State University at East Liverpool and Kent State University at Trumbull, enrollment in the program had declined significantly. No students have been enrolled in the program since fall 2021.
  • The Board authorized the sale of 8.477 acres of vacant land fronting on Summit and Cline Roads in Franklin Township, Ohio, for $75,000, an amount equal to the most recent appraisal value of the acreage. The land has been identified as part of the surplus real estate assets by the university that are available for disposition in alignment with the Gateway to a Distinctive Kent State facilities master plan, as approved by the Board at its December 2018 meeting.
  • The Board authorized the sale of 2.424 acres of land and improvements at 230 N. Lincoln Ave. in Salem, Ohio, for $345,000, an amount equal to the most recent appraised value of the building and the land. The university has determined that there is no current or future need for the property, known as the Salem City Center that was acquired by Kent State in 2007 as an extension of the Salem Campus, and thus it is surplus real estate that is available for disposition. The property includes four parcels. The largest parcel is occupied by a three-story building constructed in 1917. The remaining three lots are used as surface parking, accommodating a total of approximately 60 vehicles.
  • The Board approved the recommended Fiscal Year 2025 internal audit plan. The professional standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors require the Board to approve the internal audit plan. The Fiscal Year 2025 internal audit plan has been reviewed by the Board’s Audit and Compliance Committee.
  • The Board approved the vendor selection for athletics medical services and sponsorship for Kent State. Cleveland Clinic will serve as the medical services provider to support student-athlete health and safety. Medical services to be provided include physicians, athletic training, physical therapy, behavioral health services, sports performance services, medical scheduling and insurance processing. The estimated annual value of the athletics medical services to be provided is approximately $1.6 million for the term of the multiyear contract. Cleveland Clinic will provide these services in exchange for a negotiated level of exclusivity as the official healthcare provider for Kent State Athletics and specified sponsorship and marketing assets and opportunities. Negotiations are currently underway, and a final agreement must be completed in the coming weeks to ensure a timely transition to these services effective July 1, 2024.
  • The Board approved the vendor selection for comprehensive serials subscription services for Kent State University Libraries for use in research and teaching. EBSCO Information Services LLC will provide new and renewal subscriptions to single or multiple addresses for domestic and foreign serials and periodicals in paper and other formats and related services. The contract will be for an initial term of five years at approximately $410,000 per year, with an option to renew up to two additional two-year periods at $410,000 each year, for a potential total contract duration of nine years.
  • The Board approved the vendor selection for furniture for residence halls on the Kent Campus. The university will enter into a contract with Sauder Education for the manufacture, delivery and installation of self-loftable beds and student room furniture for the Kent Campus. The cost for these services is a five-year initial term of $500,000 per year, with the potential of three, one-year extensions at $500,000 each year for a total contract value not to exceed $4 million.
  • The Board approved the vendor selection for catering services for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The vendors Laziza’s Ltd., Cedar Room Catering LLC, Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders, and Mamacita’s will furnish options for grab-and-go premade meals, large group meals, meals for private and donor events at athletics venues, and dining options at the vendors’ locations for such things as meetings, prospective student recruiting and the recruitment of potential employees. The contracts with the preferred vendors will be for an initial term of three years with a total aggregate spend estimated at $1.6 million per year, with a university option to renew up to two additional one-year periods, for a potential total contract duration of five years.
  • The Board approved the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) preventative maintenance contract for Kent State’s seven Regional Campuses. Gardiner Service Company will provide HVAC maintenance services at the Stark, Trumbull, Ashtabula, Salem, Tuscarawas, East Liverpool and Geauga campuses. The contract will be for a five-year term at an annual cost of $1.01 million, with a total contract value not to exceed $5.05 million to be funded by the regional campus facilities operating budget.
  • The Board elected the following officers for 2024-2025, effective July 1, 2024: Ann Womer Benjamin, chair; Donald Mason, vice chair; and Pamela Bobst, secretary. In addition, National Trustees Barry Fetterman and Sandra Volpe were reappointed to a second, three-year term. This new term will begin upon their current term's expiration, Sept. 1, 2024.
  • In a routine action required by the Kent State Constitution, the Board formally approved the annual election of President Todd A. Diacon, effective July 1, 2024. Diacon was elected as the 13th president of Kent State effective July 1, 2019. The Board recognizes his leadership and contributions to the well-being and advancement of the university.

# # #

Photo Caption:
New Kent State University graduates prepare to turn their tassels from right to left, signifying the earning of a degree, during a Spring 2024 Commencement ceremony held at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797  
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595 

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 11:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 11:45 AM
University Communications and Marketing
Rami Daud