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Board of Control discusses enrollment, future projects

SVSU leaders examined falling enrollment and upcoming projects.

On Monday, Sept. 23, SVSU’s Board of Control met for the second time this semester. The Board of Control is the governing body of the university and meets monthly.

The September meeting began with Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Huntley. She presented this year’s enrollment numbers and trends.

Huntley mentioned that this year, student enrollment was down from 8,535 students to 8,265 students.

“There were two major components to the decrease in our headcount,” Huntley said. “The biggest one comes from our freshman enrollment.”

This year, freshman enrollment declined 6.7 percent, or 106 students. Although slightly lower than last year’s record-setting freshman enrollment, this year’s class was still among the biggest in the university’s history.

Huntley said the other major factor contributing to declining enrollment was retention.

“This year we actually took a hit from first to second-year retention,” she said. “This hit represents 50 to 60 students that we should have had if we maintained our strategic goal (of 78 percent retention).”

Brown Hall Plans Director of Governmental Affairs John Kaczynski also discussed proposed renovations to Brown Hall through SVSU’s Capital Outlay Project.

The project seeks $12 million from the state of Michigan to replace aging infrastructure and create seven active learning classrooms. It was passed by the state legislature and sent to the governor’s office for review.

“Last week, the House and the Senate added this capital outlay project to the capital outlay section of the appropriations bill,” Kaczynski said. “We were the only institution to be included in the capital outlay section of the bill.”

Following the Board of Control meeting, Kaczynski explained the complexities of the bill.

“Unlike the President, the governor can line-item veto specific parts of the appropriations bill,” Kaczynski said.

Kaczynski said if the bill were to pass, further construction approvals would still be required and work on Brown Hall likely would not begin until at least 2021.

SA Proposal

Student Association president Hunter Koch was also in attendance. He proposed changes to Student Association’s charter. The most notable of these changes would be an appeal to allow representatives to serve for more than four years.

“As we move into the 21st century of education, we know a lot of programs aren’t finishable in four years,” Koch said. “We also know a lot of students are coming back for graduate school.”

The next Board of Control meeting will take place Oct. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in Wickes Hall, room 350.

All Board of Control meetings are open to the public.

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