Student population more than doubles in recent decades, while opportunities for bachelor's degrees expands.

JACKSON TWP. Easy accessibility from Interstate 77 counts among several reasons Kent State University at Stark has enjoyed steady enrollment growth with projections for more.

The student population reached roughly 5,000 this past school year compared to 2,401 in 1992; 3,849 in 2007; and 4,873 in 2012. The number is projected to reach 5,600 by the fall of 2022, according to figures Kent State University at Stark provided.

The campus, along Frank Avenue NW, also has seen new construction, with the addition of 15,000 square feet of space at the Fine Arts Building, including studios for the music technology program.

Additionally, 17,000 square feet of existing space is being renovated, some for theater productions. The enhanced space will feature a new ceramics studio and two interior art gallery spaces. The expansion and renovation total $9.7 million, said Melissa Griffy Seeton, public relations and media communications coordinator at KSU at Stark.

Citing a study, the local campus points not only to its educational benefits but also to its economic impact on the county and region.

The accounting firm EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) released a report examining Kent State University's economic and fiscal contributions to local communities, the Northeast Ohio region and the state for fiscal year 2017.

In Stark County, the university's total economic impact was $55 million, the study estimated. Nearly 600 Kent State employees live in Stark County, earning nearly $25 million in wages and benefits, the study reported.

Roughly $6.7 million in labor income and an estimated 180 induced jobs resulted from Kent State employees spending money at businesses in Stark County, the study estimated. That led to university employees, suppliers and induced activity last year supporting an estimated $3.2 million in state and local taxes.

Academically, KSU at Stark has expanded its offerings.

Last year, the Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental studies became KSU at Stark's 20th degree that can be earned entirely on the Stark County campus. Other bachelor's degrees offered locally include psychology, nursing, business management and criminology and justice studies.

The Frank Avenue site is the only Kent State campus to offer a bachelor's degree in music technology, preparing students for work in recording studios and related areas.

Griffy Seeton said KSU at Stark also distinguishes itself as Kent State's largest regional campus and Stark County's only public, four-year university.

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