Career Services Fee and Where it Goes

Kristin Williams, Executive Director of Career Exploration and Development
Kristin Williams

The distribution of the funds from Kent State University’s tuition is a topic of discussion across campus, but a portion of the Career Services Fee is put towards supporting Kent State students.

Every student attending Kent State University pays tuition that is broken into two categories: instructional fees and general fees. According to the university Bursar’s Office, instructional fees support faculty teaching costs and other academic expenditures, while the general fee supports student services and operations across the university. On top of tuition, students are charged a career services fee at a rate of what? The career services fee is allocated, in part, to the department of Career Exploration and Development. This department, located within University College and Academic Affairs, works with students from enrollment to post-graduation to assist in career success.

“We always try to err on the side of more going directly into the pockets of students,” said Kristin Williams, executive director of the department, and that the funds that they receive are split approximately 60/40 in favor of the students.

Services that benefit students include job shadow experiences, exploration activities, internships, cooperative education and experiential learning opportunities. The department also provides assistance to students with unpaid internships.

“We know there are a great number of students across many programs who are required or choose to do an internship… and those experiences are not paid so we have provided, on average, about $250,000 a year.” These unpaid internship scholarships supplement the cost of travel, housing, parking and attire for students throughout the university.

While Williams could not provide exact figures, the allocation that Career Exploration and Development receives is a portion of the total fee collected. Those numbers are not public; however, the cost to full-time students at the Kent campus is $79 per semester. Based on the enrollment numbers for the spring 2021 semester, the fee would collect more than $1.6 million per semester from the nearly 19,800 undergraduate students, presuming full-time status for all the students.

John Carey

The fee was proposed for all public institutions by John Carey, now former Chancellor of Higher Education for the state of Ohio, in 2017. The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the fee in the fall of that year—it was implemented the following January. The rate at which students are charged differs based on the campus at which they are studying and the credit hours they are taking.

The remaining 40 percent of the funds allocated to Career Exploration and Development is used for staffing. When the fee was started, Williams said, “our staff was quite small for an institution of our size.” Staffing was increased and advisers were distributed across campus. With more staff, the department hopes to reach more students who can take advantage of the services offered by Career Exploration and Development.

Students who are interested in participating in services provided by Career Exploration and Development can find more information on the department’s Kent State webpage. Students wanting to receive support from the unpaid internship fund can apply through the page as well.