From Ohio History Central
Cleveland State University originated in 1870, when the Cleveland, Ohio, Young Men's Christian Association began to offer vocational classes to local residents. During the early twentieth century the YMCA's offerings evolved into Fenn College in 1929. Fenn College was a private institution of higher education. In 1964, the State of Ohio purchased Fenn College's buildings, located in downtown Cleveland, and established a commuter college that targeted area residents. This new institution became known as Cleveland State University.
Over the next several decades, Cleveland State University grew quickly. At its peak, Fenn College enrolled just 2,500 students, while Cleveland State University claimed over fifteen thousand students in 1997. At this same time, Cleveland State remained primarily a commuter campus, with only six hundred students residing in University housing. In 2005, the college boasted an enrollment of over sixteen thousand students, with ninety-eight percent of the students coming from Ohio. Most of these students -- eighty-percent of the student body -- resided in the Cleveland vicinity. Approximately one-third of Cleveland State's students were enrolled in graduate programs in 2005. The institution offers degrees in numerous areas, but Cleveland State University is especially known for its urban development, business, education, and law programs.