By Katie Quaranta
Ohio University will introduce a pilot shuttle service from Port Columbus Airport to Athens for out-of-state students just prior to the start of fall-quarter classes.
The university plans to offer the service throughout the year at the beginning and end of each quarter. At the end of the academic year, the service will be assessed to determine its success. A shuttle service for international students,which debuted last year, will continue this year.
Timed just before the start of fall quarter on Sept. 8, the service will be available Sept. 4, 5 and 6. University drivers will transport students to campus on a 55-passenger bus, which will make two trips each day. A university guide will meet students at the baggage claim area.
A joint effort of Transportation Services and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the service is tied to the university's heightened emphasis on recruiting out-of-state students.
The Vision OHIO implementation plan calls for increasing the number of nonresident students in the freshman class by 2 percentage points a year during each of the next five years (to 506 by 2012-13). Likewise, the University System of Ohio is encouraging universities, particularly the "historic four corners" (Ohio University, Miami, Bowling Green and Kent State), to actively pursue students beyond Ohio's borders as part of its goal to use higher education to draw talented citizens to the state.
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl said recruitment efforts have to be paired with attention to retention, and services such as the shuttle may help retain students recruited from out of state.
"One worthwhile thing that the university can do for out-of-state students is to provide a safe and reasonably priced means of airport transportation," Krendl said.
"My office sponsored a similar transportation program last year for international students. It was a great success and became part of the Five Year Vision Ohio Implementation Plan," she added. "Transportation Services responded enthusiastically to our request for help on this project, and with their assistance, I hope to see similar results for the out-of-state student pilot."
Interested students will use an online reservation system, which opens Aug. 14. Reservations are required at least 72 hours in advance of the shuttle students wish to ride, and spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The $25 nonrefundable fee for the service will be charged to students' accounts when they make reservations.
Director of Transportation Services Marty Paulins said he is pleased his department can help meet the university's academic priorities.
"We are really excited to be providing this service for the provost's office," he said. "We are glad we can use the university transportation assets in direct support of Vision OHIO and increased enrollment (of out-of-state students)."
The service for international students, also provided for a nonrefundable fee of $25, will operate three weeks prior to the start of fall quarter and three days prior to the beginning and end of other quarters. Students can make online reservations starting Aug. 1.
Click here for more information on either shuttle service program.