MSU President's Newspaper Column

August 28, 2021 

Fall semester begins with excitement and positivity

This has been another eventful week at Mayville State University. The first classes of the fall semester began at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23 and the first full day of classes was Tuesday, Aug. 24.

The week has been filled with fun things for students to do, as well as activities that have provided opportunities for learning. This is the week when we introduce new students to all that is available for them at “The School of Personal Service.”

We know that one of the advantages of attending Mayville State University is the opportunity to be involved. Joining a club or organization provides a student with invaluable leadership opportunities. We strongly encourage all students to get involved in something, whether it be intramural sports, Collegiate DECA, Student Education Association, student government, band and/or choir, theatre, e-sports, and/or so many more organizations. Being involved on campus enriches the college experience for all.

On Monday morning, I had the privilege of addressing new students in an assembly where our Peer Leaders and Residence Hall Assistants took charge. In my address, I encouraged our newest Comets to get involved and to “Go to class!” Being present in classes is the main path to success at Mayville State. It’s a huge advantage for students to be in classes where their instructors know their names and truly care about them as individuals. This friendly class setting paves the way for getting help when needed and to giving and receiving undivided attention, leading to academic success. 

While we do not release official enrollment statistics until the official census day on Sept. 20, anecdotally, it seems the campus is bursting at the seams. The parking lots are full and the hallways and common spaces are bustling with students. This is a great sign for our campus and for the community.

Having the students on campus is not only a help for the university, but also for the community. The students spend money in the local stores, gas stations, and restaurants. When their families visit, they also support the financial interests of the community.

Periodically, the North Dakota University System (NDUS) conducts a study that measures the economic contribution of the university system. The most recent such study was conducted for fiscal year (FY) 2019 and released last winter. The total economic impact of the university reflected in that report is $79 million.

The report includes information regarding the economic contribution resulting from the institution’s expenditures, but it also demonstrates how spending by students also contributes to the local economy. Direct impacts of student spending in the Mayville area were $8.8 million in FY2019. The total economic contribution of student spending was $21.8 million. Student spending was estimated to generate an additional $216,000 in tax revenue. This level of student spending would create enough business activity to support about 28 secondary (indirect and induced) jobs.

In other financial news, I am happy to report that the books are now closed on the 2020-2021 fiscal year and that Mayville State has ended the year with a balanced budget and with a positive ending balance. This is a huge milestone for the university. This balance takes into account all non-cash expenditures, such as deprecation, unrealized debt, etc.

As has been discussed on numerous occasions, we have had some difficult financial challenges. We have worked with laser precision to develop a budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year that is balanced. This has come with the need to make some extremely difficult decisions. Our top priority throughout has been to save positions and protect our people, our most important asset. Last year, we needed to cut a very small number of positions and we had to leave some vacant positions unfilled. This means our employees are working harder than ever to provide the best possible academic experience for our students. We are grateful for their willingness to step up and do the right thing during difficult times.

Ending the 2020-21 fiscal year on a positive note shows that our efforts are successful. This is going to make an impact on Mayville State’s Composite Financial Index (CFI), which is an indicator of the overall health of the institution. Outside agencies, including the accrediting agencies, keep a close watch on the CFI and are actively involved in making sure that the CFI is a positive reflection of the institution when making accreditation recommendations. Improving our CFI is imperative to our success.

The last week has been packed full of activities and exciting news. I am extremely proud of our faculty and staff who are working hard to ensure that our students have the best possible experience, and I am extremely happy that we have a great number of students who have chosen to make Mayville State University their college home. It’s a great day to be a Comet!