A presentation by Vice President of Administration and Finance David Wheaton dominated this week’s MCSG meeting. Wheaton discussed the College’s financial status and the budget for the 2018-2019 school year.
The budget was built by the Task Force on the Budget (TFOB) group between October and February, and then approved by senior staff.
“Revenue from all sources is slowly decreasing and we’ve been putting in place some markers for expense growth that reflect this revenue trend,” Wheaton said.
However, Wheaton is optimistic about Macalester’s financial situation relative to comparable institutions.
“There are more than 2,225 small colleges nationwide and many of them are having trouble filling their classes. Macalester is not having this problem,” Wheaton said. “Macalester’s strengths include its strong national reputation, widely dispersed student body, we have a relatively large endowment.”
Wheaton also discussed Macalester’s plans to increase the tuition in the upcoming years as a result of inflation and the strength of the economy.
“Macalester’s comprehensive fee history demonstrates that the fees will increase in the upcoming years. This pattern would be the same at almost all of the small liberal arts colleges,” Wheaton said.
Wheaton said that this is in part due to the College accepting more students than it had planned for in the annual budget.
“Since ‘06 to ‘07, every year except one, enrollment was a little higher than what we planned,” Wheaton said. “That simply is a result of how many students we had deposit with us and how many returned, and we always have a high retention rate. We usually have a few more students here than we actually planned for in the budget.”
This will affect the comprehensive fee, which will increase 3.7 percent next year to $66,500.
Aside from high enrollment, an increase in room and board charges is also driving tuition up.
“Laundry is becoming free next year,” Wheaton said. “We added a little bit to the room charge to cover laundry fees.”
Wheaton also said that administration is also investing in admissions research to gauge the reputation of the college among applicants.
This prompted a response from the Legislative Body (LB), including Student Services and Relations Committee member Fabian Bean ’18.*
“We, as a body, have spoken about better representing minority groups in the Twin Cities at Macalester,” Bean said. “How do you see outreach to local schools increasing?”
“I think admission has been aware of those discussions and is trying to find ways to do more outreach in the Twin Cities with underrepresented groups and within Minnesota,” Wheaton said.
Wheaton also discussed projects to update Kagin Commons and residential hall kitchens. In addition, the college plans to buy new athletic uniforms to correspond with Macalester’s rebranding.
This budgeting discussion prompted other questions from the LB. Media and Outreach Coordinator Isaysha McCaleb** asked Wheaton about the exact cost of the 2017 Macalester rebranding.
“The whole rebranding cost about $180,000.” Wheaton said. “We made that push because we were disadvantaging ourselves by running 13 ways we were branding ourselves. That work was about creating a common look so for when we communicate with constituents of all kinds, prospective students, alumni, the community.”
When Wheaton finished presenting, the LB turned to a bill*** introduced by AAC member Andy Han ’19 to double the number of lockers in the Link of Macalester’s DeWitt Wallace Library. The Link currently houses 30 lockers, which are made available to students who live off-campus and those with special needs.
Han hopes to use $3,000 from the capital fund to buy 30 additional lockers and locks. 60 lockers could serve about 10% of the off-campus population.
The capital fund currently has approximately $7,000 left for the semester after the LB allocated approximately $24,000 to Mac First Aid last week for new CPR mannequins.
The LB will vote on Han’s bill in the upcoming weeks after they have considered all options for the new locker space.
- In the print version, Bean was incorrectly labeled a member of the Academic Affairs Committee.
** In the print version, McCaleb’s name was spelled incorrectly.
**in the print version, this was incorrectly called a resolution.
The Mac Weekly sincerely apologizes for these mistakes