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President's Desk

Providing the best quality and affordability in the state

Aug 16, 2021

outdoor portrait of President LaFaveIt’s well-known that Valley City State University has one of the premiere education programs in the nation. We have dedicated faculty and staff who pride themselves on preparing students to become educators. Early last week, our campus had the pleasure of hosting members of the North Dakota Legislature’s Interim Higher Education Committee. During a presentation, the North Dakota University System reported on the number of teachers graduating from every state school.

The chart had a clear leader in terms of institutions preparing teachers. Valley City State led the way. In 2019 we had 177 education graduates. By comparison, the next closest institution was 60 graduates behind VCSU. Valley City State has prepared more teachers than any other school, including privates and publics, in the state since 2013.

In addition to producing the most education graduates, our students and program continue to get rave reviews. A survey of our recent education graduates found that 97% would recommend the program to someone interested in becoming a teacher. We have the highest retention rate in the state, 72% for first-time, full-time students. We have the highest four-year graduation rate of all the four-year regional schools.

These numbers don’t just happen. They reflect years of dedicated work to develop high-quality educational opportunities. Today, I’d like to also acknowledge the efforts our faculty and staff have made to ensure the Viking experience is an affordable one as well.

Paying for college has been a hurdle for many to overcome. We are trying to take the hurdles out of the race.

Interim Higher Education legislative committee touring the new VCSU Center for the ArtsTwo years ago, we reduced the technology fee by 10% and have not raised it since. This doesn’t mean our technology offerings are reduced. In fact, they were amplified last year during different types of learning with COVID. We simply made it more affordable. We have incorporated open educational resources to save our students $1.5 million in textbooks since 2016.

Our Foundation plays a key role in student success and last year alone allocated $1.86 million in scholarships. Previously, one-time scholarships were provided to first year students only, but now our scholarship program includes a portfolio of attractive renewable scholarships. We appreciate the significant effort our Foundation has made to provide financial assistance to students through the course of their study, thus helping smooth the way for attaining their degree and successful careers as alumni.

A member of the Higher Education Committee asked where our University stands in terms of loan debt upon graduation. The average per NDUS graduate in the state is $28,792. Our average is almost $2,000 below the state average.

We will continue to work diligently to provide high-quality educational experiences for our students in an affordable way, and we look forward to building partnerships locally, in the state and across the nation to accomplish this goal.

Go Vikings!