12:55 PM

Ohio State relocates regional recruitment office in downtown Cleveland

Space will foster engagement with prospective students, high-school counselors

The Ohio State University has relocated its only regional undergraduate student recruitment office to the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland.

The new location features an open, flexible space plan that will enable staff to engage with prospective students, high-school guidance counselors and community organizations in one-on-one meetings and at group events throughout the recruitment process.

The regional office will build upon the enhancements to northeast Ohio recruitment that resulted from the launch of Ohio State’s first Cleveland recruitment office, which opened in Terminal Tower in 2013.

“We want this new office to be looked at as the Ohio State point of contact and presence in Northeast Ohio,” said Vern Granger, director of undergraduate admissions. “If you are interested in Ohio State, want to meet with someone or have questions, this is the place to go.”

After central Ohio, northeast Ohio is the largest feeder of new first-year and transfer students for Ohio State’s Columbus and regional campuses. The university expanded the target recruitment area for the regional office in 2015 from Cuyahoga and Lorain counties to an 11-county region stretching from the metro Cleveland area south to Akron and from the Pennsylvania state border west to counties that border Lake Erie.

The regional office’s presence to date has led to significant increases in applicants from Lorain and Cuyahoga counties as well as increases in enrollment from those two counties, especially on the Mansfield campus. Freshman enrollment of Cuyahoga and Lorain county residents increased by 5.4 and 1.7 percent, respectively, on the Columbus campus between autumn 2013 and autumn 2017, and by 38.2 and 100 percent, respectively, on the Mansfield campus among applicants selecting Mansfield as their first Ohio State choice.

Expectations are high that the improved access in the new location will not just grow northeast Ohio recruitment, but also enable the university to connect in a more meaningful way with prospective students and families.

“It’s not only about numbers on a spreadsheet,” said Keith Gehres, director of outreach and recruitment for undergraduate admissions. “It’s about reaching talented students in the region who may not even be considering college and showing them that an Ohio State education is available to them. It’s about fulfilling the university mission to create opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and to help them succeed.”

The regional office has been essential to forging important relationships with community organizations and high schools, Gehres noted.

“Having a physical presence in northeast Ohio is seen within the counselor community as a real commitment on the part of Ohio State to recruit and enroll students throughout the region,” he said.

Ohio State also works with college access and success organizations College Now Greater Cleveland, which assigns staff to Cleveland-area schools, and the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, a consortium that includes the city of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cuyahoga County government, 16 public and private colleges, and civic groups and foundations.

The Terminal Tower space was donated by Forest City Enterprises, a real estate company led by former Ohio State trustee Ronald A. Ratner.

“We will always be grateful to Mr. Ratner for his generous donation of premium downtown space that enabled us to expand student recruitment in this area of the state,” Granger said.

Two full-time staff members work in the Cleveland office. Ohio State also employs regional recruiters in six cities across the United States who work from their homes.

At the Global Center for Health Innovation, a public building owned by Cuyahoga County, Ohio State recruiters will have access to a variety of common spaces for meetings and events. Convenient parking is also available in an attached underground garage. These amenities combined with a facility designed to Ohio State’s specifications will also provide a valuable physical space for colleges and units such as the Alumni Association and Advancement to meet with key stakeholders.

The university has signed a five-year lease on the new space with an option to terminate the lease after two years. The rent is $29,600 per year.