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Stark News Details

From Stark to Finish: Enjoy the Benefits of Higher Education

Posted Apr. 30, 2014

Community Good

Kent State Stark makes our region better by helping more residents enjoy the benefits of higher education.

What’s the point of higher education? Most colleges and universities will tell you it’s more than learning for the sake of learning. The real goal is to foster well-rounded individuals. To prepare them for success in the community, where they live and work and raise a family. To develop responsible citizens (local, global and corporate) who are equipped to give back and change things for the better.

That’s especially true of Kent State University at Stark. Our mission is to help more people in our region enjoy these benefits of higher education. It’s our way of making our community better. Most of our 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.


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, they’re the main course for more than 20 bachelor’s and master’s degrees that students can earn without ever leaving the Stark County campus.

“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. “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 Speck, director of admissions. “More students today are time-constrained, whether due to family or job responsibilities,” she 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 public university without going too far from home.”


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 undergrad 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. Many more are expected due to Kent State University’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 University 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 in marketing.
“In the past, we had two articulation agreements,” says Dr. A. Bathi Kasturiarachi, 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, he adds. For one, they’re already comfortable with our campus since they share our library, student center and other facilities.

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 core requirements even before becoming a Kent State Stark student. The free class helped her decide to transfer, she said. “I did not expect to transfer at first,” says Bandy. “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’s 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.”

The following degrees, majors and concentrations can be completed in their entirety at Kent State Stark:


Ready to make the move? Find out how you can turn your associate degree into a bachelor's degree.