Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February  24, 2017

Dave McFadden

President Dave McFadden

President McFadden Schools MU Students on Budget

Virginia Rendler

Manchester University President Dave McFadden gave the Spring Convocation Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 3:30 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium. The Convocation provided a look at who invests in the Manchester experience and how Manchester University invests in its students. McFadden aimed to answer the questions; “Who is investing in your education? How is Manchester investing in your education? Why is the Manchester Administration making these investments?” He also discussed the cost of attending Manchester and what the institutional budget is. 

McFadden was onstage along with two members of Student Senate: Tate Wooding, Student Senate President, and Mariam Ali. They served to assist him and represent two voices of students and their questions, as no audience questions were taken. 

The overall cost of attending Manchester University is approximately $40,000. President McFadden used boxes to represent this number, each box representing $1,000 or 2.5 percent of total tuition cost. Students assisted in moving these boxes across the stage to show the distribution of money. For example, as a breakdown of how tuition is paid on average, 2 boxes represented financial aid ($2,000), 3 boxes represented state aid ($3,000), 18 boxes represented Manchester aid, 6 boxes represented student loans, 3 boxes represented parent loans, and 8 boxes were student and family contribution. Seeing the boxes onstage allowed students to visualize how money is distributed.

Manchester University provides 45 percent of tuition costs in aid, which annually comes to $21,000,000. Students provide 42.5 percent and 12.6 percent is provided by outside loans. 

After discussing cost, McFadden moved into discussing the budget of Manchester. This year’s undergraduate budget was $53,500,000, $50,000,000 provided from tuition and $3,500,000 in gifts from donors. The largest part of Manchester’s budget is spent on financial aid, 40 percent. 35 percent of the budget represents staff, faculty, student and administrative payroll. $1,000,000 goes to student wages. 

The remaining budget goes to programs and operations (18 percent), and technology, buildings and debt (7 percent). McFadden recognized that there are many students who have qualms about tuition, such as parking and food. He emphasized that many schools in the area are being forced to shut down many programs because they don’t have the funding, and that at Manchester budgeting is currently focused on keeping crucial programs running. 

Student Senate President Tate Wooding was present with McFadden on stage. He said that the goal of Student Senate it to take up concerns and questions students have. “We try to be a bridge between the students and administration,” Wooding said. “I would say to the most important thing for students to understand is that the University does its best to allocate money to where it needs to go. One of the main priorities is students’ needs and providing enough help for them.
Wooding also said that, as of right now, there is not a committee open on the subject of budgeting; however, they are always interested in student's concerns about the matter. “We will also be hosting an Open Meeting on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. to talk more about the capital projects,” Wooding said. “I would like students to know that Student Senate is here to be their voice on not only this matter, but any matter that they believe is important.”

Senior Peace Studies major Michael Himlie said he appreciated that President McFadden gave students a visual explanation of how Manchester uses its funds. “It struck me just how privileged we at Manchester University are, to have such immense support behind our education,” Himlie said. “I particularly appreciated him clarifying what our funds are and, more importantly, are not supporting. I think an excellent future topic would be discussing the investments of Manchester.”

McFadden closed by answering the question; “Are the investments worth it?” The answer was a resounding yes. Within 6 months of graduating, 95.9 percent of Manchester graduates were employed or volunteering in 2016. 85 percent agreed that their education at Manchester was worth the cost, compared to a 77 percent national average.