Ohio’s Central State University Casting Wider Net for Students With In-state Tuition Offers

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by Afi-Odelia Scruggs

Ohio’s only public HBCU is ramping up enrollment efforts by offering in-state tuition to eligible out-of-state candidates this fall.

At Central State University, students from 24 Indiana counties will pay in-state tuition throughout their enrollment at the school near Dayton, Ohio.

Students from Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago will benefit from a waiver that discounts tuition for two years. Indianapolis students get the waiver because the city’s home county isn’t covered by the reciprocity agreement.

The agreement means eligible students will pay $24,000 for tuition, fees and room and board this year—a savings of $6,000 to $7,000, said Steven Peterson, the university’s assistant director of undergraduate admissions.

Ohio offers various reciprocity agreements to students living in the border states of Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan and Kentucky. About 30 Ohio schools extend some measure of reciprocity to nearby out-of-state students, according to the Ohio Board of Regents.

Peterson said out-of-state students comprise about 60 percent of his school’s the student body.

“A large portion of our students come from out of state, and we know that finances and paying for college is a struggle,” he said. “If we can eliminate that, we can put students on track to focus on their academics and persist to graduation.”

Last year, 278 students graduated from Central State. Peterson anticipates an entering class of 400 students when school opens on August 14.

Peterson said the agreements will further bolster recruitment in Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis.

“We have a large alumni base that does a lot of recruiting for us,” he said.

The tuition perks come as the school is working to increase its enrollment and retention rates. About 2,100 students enrolled in fall 2012, a 13-percent drop from the year before. The school retains about 50 percent of its students, and about 65 percent continue to graduation, according to a report the school submitted to the Ohio Department of Higher Education in 2012.

Starting this fall, the school is implementing “scaled admission criteria” that will balance ACT scores and grade point averages. Under the new approach, a higher grade can compensate for lower ACT scores and vice versa.

”For example, a student with an entering GPA of 3.0 can have a minimum ACT score of 13, or a student with an entering GPA of 2.8 or 2.9 can have an ACT score of 14 and still be admitted,” the report said. Scaled admissions will end by the fall of 2015, when admission will require a 2.0 GPA and an ACT score of 15.

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