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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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President Davenport Addresses Faculty, Staff at Convocation

Discusses progress, challenges in Convocation remarks.

2013-08-20
Amanda Dyslin, Mankato Free Press, 8-20-2013

Due to the decrease in state funding over numerous years, the rising cost of tuition has caused high school students to consider whether they can afford a four-year institution.

That’s one of the reasons marketing and recruitment are so important for Minnesota State University, Mankato — to reach out to students and impart to them the value of a college education, said Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport during his annual University Convocation speech Monday morning in Bresnan Arena.

Minnesota State Mankato has to make a promise to students that if they enroll at the university, they’ll “go further than they imagined possible,” “they’ll turn their dreams into a reality,” and they’ll be taught to “combine big ideas with real-world thinking.”

Davenport quoted a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce that stated by 2020, there will be 5 million more jobs than we have post-secondary graduates to fill.

Most jobs (about 2/3) will require some type of post-secondary education. And those who only possess a high school diploma will have fewer employment opportunities.

So, he said, it’s as important as ever to “redirect” the 20,000 high school graduates who are opting not to attend college, as well as the 13,000 choosing to attend college out of state, back to the state university system. “And we have got to improve retention and graduation rates,” he said.

Cost is of course a big challenge. Today, students are paying 2/3 the cost of their education, as opposed to 1/3 about 25 years ago because the state is now only funding 1/3 of the cost.

“It’s becoming unaffordable for students,” Davenport said.

Full-time students taking 12-18 credits who are Minnesota residents paid $7,532 in tuition and fees in 2012-13, according to Minnesota State Mankato Student Financial Services. The average cost of room and meals is $7,368, which makes the total annual cost estimate for attending Minnesota State Mankato $14,900, according to the department. (Books and other supplies are not factored in.) That compares to five years ago, during the 200708 school year, when tuition and fees were $6,058 and room and meals were estimated at $5,356, for a total of $11,414. That’s a $3,486 increase, or 31 percent, in five years.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone is preparing a report called “Charting the Future” to be completed this fall that will address this challenge and more. The report calls for a great deal more collaboration among faculty, departments and other institutions to better serve students and achieve common goals, Davenport said. It also calls for a transformation of the current fiscal model.

“We must develop a new approach to system financing that encourages cooperation and clearly enables shared services across our colleges and universities as well as those delivered by the system office or the Campus Service Cooperative,” the report draft reads in part. “We must also develop a statewide approach to funding new and innovative academic programming and encouraging colleges and universities to collaborate to build capacity to meet our collective mission to serve Minnesota.” Davenport also addressed the changing campus culture, with the continual rise of diverse students. He said Minnesota State Mankato needs to carve out a plan to better serve that population and address the changes.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at www.mankatofreepress.com.

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