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Anna Burleson, Forum News Service, Published February 16 2014

Mayville State sees enrollment surge

MAYVILLE, N.D. – For the first time ever, spring semester enrollment at Mayville State University has surpassed 1,000 students.

Even though the university has more relaxed admission standards than nearby University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, distance and online students are credited for the increase, as their enrollment is up by about 13 percent compared to last year.

“We’re more of an open-admissions institution,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ray Gerszewski said. “That doesn’t mean we admit everyone, but we do admit the vast majority.”

The school has seen increased enrollment online, especially in early childhood education and business administration. Gerszewski also said more students are taking classes to learn, but not necessarily to earn a degree.

“There are going to be older students supplementing their existing degrees, so we anticipate that, too,” he said.

While Mayville’s admission standards have remained at a high school GPA of 2.0, UND has recently made it slightly more difficult to get in. As of last fall, the lowest high school GPA UND would accept went from 2.25 to 2.5, and spokesman Peter Johnson said the old matrix of guaranteed acceptance if a student had a certain ACT score and GPA is gone, too.

“There’s concern, as there is across the country, in admitting students who really aren’t prepared,” Johnson said. “They end up racking up some serious debt load without the ability to capitalize on that later.”

UND’s changes are in line with the State Board of Higher Education’s proposed Pathways to Student Success program, which could potentially raise admission standards at larger universities. The plan is being evaluated, and Gerszewski doesn’t credit admission standards for Mayville State’s recent surge in students.

“None of us really know what the impact will be, but we shall see,” he said of the Pathways plan.

Johnson had similar views.