MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

August 1, 2020 

University and community partnerships are a win-win

Each of the state’s college campuses is an important component of that area’s local economy. Periodically, the North Dakota University System (NDUS) conducts a study that measures the economic contribution of the university system. The most recent such study was conducted for fiscal year (FY) 2017 and released in December of 2018.

A brief analysis of the economic contribution of each of the NDUS campuses is included in the report. Key economic indicators estimated in the analyses include direct impacts, total level of economic activity, personal income, retail trade, tax revenues, and employment.

In the report data, expenditures by Mayville State University comprise the direct impacts, or “first round effects.” Expenditures by Mayville State University were $9.4 million in FY1999 and increased steadily over the years to $22.8 million in FY2017. Expenditures increased over the 18-year period by $13.4 million or by 141.9 percent as our campus has grown.

Mayville State’s total economic contribution was estimated at $28.4 million in FY1999. This grew to $69.7 million in FY2017. The sector with the largest impact was the Households Sector (i.e., personal income of area residents) for each year presented, FY1999 to FY2017. Personal income increased from $11.3 million in FY1999 to $28.5 million in FY2017 or by 151.4 percent. Other sectors receiving major contributions included Retail Trade, Construction, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, and Business and Personal Services. Increased retail trade activity was estimated to be $6.8 million in FY1999, growing each year to $16.3 million in FY2017.

Tax collections generated by Mayville State University in FY2017 included $1.4 million in retail sales, $395,000 in personal income, $228,000 in corporate income, and $185,000 in miscellaneous revenues.

Levels of business activity resulting from Mayville State University expenditures would support 143 secondary (indirect and induced) jobs in 2017. These jobs were in addition to the 290 positions (excluding student jobs) at Mayville State University in 2017.

In addition to the economic contribution resulting from the institution’s expenditures, spending by students also contributes to the local economy. Direct impacts of student spending in the Mayville area were $8.1 million in FY2017. The total economic contribution was $20.0 million. Student spending was estimated to generate an additional $419,000 in sales and use tax revenue and $73,000 in personal income tax collections. This level of student spending would create enough business activity to support nearly 28 secondary (indirect and induced) jobs.

Mayville State University plays a significant role in the economic health of the local community, county, state, and region. We are proud to have been a key player in helping to bring natural gas to Traill County, something that has been a long-time goal in this area. With the university’s commitment to purchase substantial amounts of natural gas, along with agreements from other large customers, Dakota Natural Gas was given the green light to file permit applications with the state. We anticipate that natural gas will make its way to Hillsboro and Mayville by the fall of 2021 and possibly to Portland and Buxton soon thereafter. This is a huge win for our area.

Mayville State has submitted its request for a major capital project, installation of natural gas fueled boilers and a building to house them, for legislative consideration. Currently, we supplement our coal-fired heating system by burning fuel oil in the fall and spring, and as emergency backup.

The $1.6 million project to install natural gas burners will allow the university to eliminate its dependence on expensive fuel oil and will also give the university a back-up to the coal burners. Redundancy in heating sources for our physical plant is extremely important. In addition, we’ll be able to convert water heaters located throughout campus from electric to natural gas, which will provide substantial savings. Natural gas is a more efficient, economical, and cleaner burning product. By using natural gas at Mayville State, we will see budget savings, while helping to make this cost-saving commodity available to the businesses and individuals in our community.

Partnering with our local and greater community is of major importance to us at Mayville State University. Working together, we are stronger and have the potential to have a greater positive impact for our friends and neighbors.