After last month’s statistics indicated that Mineral Area College’s summer and fall semesters would see a significant decline in student enrollment, Dean of Students Jean Merrill-Doss was able to present a more positive report to the school’s board of trustees when it met in regular session Thursday afternoon on the Park Hills campus.
“Well, there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel,” Merrill-Doss said. “We’ve closed the gap in our summer enrollment to where it’s about 3 percent off our mark. We currently have 816 students enrolled for 4,394 hours. We’re real excited about that. We have a few more weeks to go before summer school starts.
“For fall, we actually are creeping up on those numbers, as well. We’re down about 10 percent in headcount and about 9-and-a-half percent in credit hours. We have 1,380 enrolled for 16,000 credit hours for fall. We currently have a C.A.R.D.S. (College Advisement/Registration Day for Students) program this afternoon with 80 students on campus to enroll.
“We have two more C.A.R.D.S. programs in June, and as I mentioned to you last month, beginning in July we’re going to try a new program where we do more intensive, intrusive advising with students where the Student Services advisors will meet with them one-on-one and try to begin that dialogue with retention from the very first time they’re on campus. So, we’re hopeful that will help us. We’re excited about it.”
In his MAC Foundation update, Director of Development and Alumni Relations Kevin Thurman reported the foundation’s annual golf tournament, held the day before at St. Francois Country Club, had been a success.
“A week ago, we didn’t know if we were going to get any sun,” he said. “It was like 42 and rainy, but we got lucky. We had 40 teams compete and it was a good — not only fundraiser — it was a good friend-raiser, as well. We had a great time and raised a little money in the process.
“We don’t have final numbers yet. We’re still getting bills in and stuff like that, but it looks like it’s going to be in line — maybe a little bit better — than the last couple of years that we’ve had it. Thanks to all the volunteers. It really makes the tournament a success. Many were staff, some were not staff members — members of MAC — but, we appreciate everyone.”
In new business, the trustees approved the refinancing of Series 2008 Certificates of Participation to reduce the interest rate and achieve a savings in interest cost. According to Roger Edgar of George K. Baum & Company, who went over the refinancing plan, the interest rate will be reduced from 4.1 percent to 3.05 percent.
“MAC’s annual payments will be reduced by approximately $62,433 per year, meaning the school will see a total savings of around $874,000 over the life of the lease,” he said.
Edgar also noted that the lending institutions his company had contacted about refinancing the tax-exempt bonds complimented the community college on its proper management of finances despite uncertain financial times.
In other action, the trustees approved a volunteer services agreement; an amendment to board policy regarding admissions standards; a report given on dual credit, including changes to the College Now! Scholarship Program; Fredericktown High School’s participation in MAC’s Dual Credit/Enrollment College Program; and MAC’s Strategic Plan Update.
The next meeting of the board of trustees will take place at 2 p.m. June 15, in the boardroom on the school’s Park Hills campus.
“Well, there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel.” — Jean Merrill-Doss, MAC dean of students
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or email@example.com