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Area Residents Enjoy Benefits of Higher Education at Kent State Stark

Posted Aug. 25, 2014
enter photo description
Junior psychology major Hollie Bandy
decided to pursue a bachelor's degree
because of Kent State University at
Stark's close commute and affordability.
She is one of hundreds of Stark State
College graduates who have applied
their two-year degree toward a
four-year degree at Kent State Stark.

Thirty years ago, classes at Kent State University at Stark were just the appetizer to a four-year degree that had to be finished at the Kent Campus or another university. Today, these classes are the main course for more than 20 bachelor’s and master’s degrees that students can earn without ever leaving Kent State Stark.

“Bachelor’s degrees at Kent State Stark have been emerging quietly since the early 1980s, starting with English and history,” says Mary Southards, assistant dean for enrollment management at Kent State Stark. “In the last 10 years, however, we’ve introduced many more as the state has expanded the mission of regional campuses in order to increase the number of Ohioans with bachelor’s degrees.”

Having the option to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree at Kent State Stark is a help to many local residents, says Deborah Phillipp, director of admissions at Kent State Stark.

“More students today are time constrained, whether due to family or job responsibilities,” Speck says. “They aren’t necessarily looking to move away to earn a college degree, nor do they want to drive out of the area to attend classes. At Kent State Stark, they have full access to a state university without going too far from home.”

From Stark to Finish

The close commute and affordability are what enticed psychology major Hollie Bandy to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Bandy earned an associate degree in psychology from Stark State College in December and became a full-time undergraduate student at Kent State Stark in January. She is one of hundreds of Stark State students who have transferred to apply their two-year degree toward a four-year degree at Kent State Stark. Many more are expected due to Kent State’s new articulation agreements with Stark State.  The articulation agreements allow Stark State students to transfer almost all of their credits to a Kent State program in the same or similar field. For example, a student with an associate degree in marketing can transition seamlessly into their junior year at Kent State Stark, working toward a bachelor’s degree in marketing. 

“In the past, we had two articulation agreements,” says Bathi Kasturiarachi, Ph.D., interim assistant dean of academic affairs. “This year, we multiplied the opportunities for Stark State students, and we will be heavily promoting them with fresh marketing.”

Transferring to Kent State Stark is a natural progression for Stark State students, Kasturiarachi adds. “For one, they’re already comfortable with our campus since they share our library, student center and other facilities,” he says.

Stark State students who have a 2.5 or higher grade point average don’t pay the Kent State Stark application fee. And potential transfer students can sample Kent State Stark by taking one free course per semester while they attend Stark State. Bandy took an art history class and fulfilled part of her Kent State core requirements even before becoming a Kent State Stark student. The free class helped her decide to transfer, she says.

“I did not expect to transfer at first,” Bandy says. “I just wanted to see how far I could go with my education by taking the first step at Stark State.”

Now on track for her bachelor’s degree, Bandy’s future goals include earning a master’s and doctorate in psychology and becoming a clinical psychologist. She is a prime example of how Kent State Stark is strengthening the region by infusing the job market with qualified graduates.

“More people in this area are earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees because of Kent State Stark,” says Southards. “If we weren’t here, thousands of individuals might not be going to college right now.”

Most of Kent State Stark’s 5,000 students come from Stark County. Many never leave. In the meantime, they get a major university experience in their own backyard: complete academic programs, financial support and the little extras that give them a running start — and keep them running.

For more information about Kent State Stark and the programs offered at the campus, visit www.stark.kent.edu.