Bacone College getting back on track under new leadership

Monday, July 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- For the first time in a decade, Bacone College is expected to balance its $6 million annual budget, while enrollment applications for the fall are up 125 percent from last semester, the school's president says.

Bacone President Norman Madsen, who started his job in October, said the school is now ready to set sail.

"When I first came on board, Bacone was like a ship that had been dry-docked for a number of years," he said. "We've repaired the holes that were leaking, buffed out the rust, and now this ship has turned around and is about ready to leave the harbor."

Madsen said the intended path for the two-year school -- which has an Indian enrollment of 53 percent -- includes increasing student enrollment from all races and adding several bachelor's degrees.

To accomplish this, Madsen said he intends to use many of the same tactics he used a few years ago at Kendall College in Evanston, Ill., where he said enrollment increased 41 percent while he served as president.

But change at Bacone is not without a price. Madsen spent about $500,000 on recruiting efforts, improving the recruiting office and revamping Bacone's financial aid.

That has helped increase the school's enrollment from 275 students last year to a projected 550 students in fall 2000. But Madsen also increased Bacone tuition 75 percent soon after taking the helm, with the price of a credit hour going from $162.50 last year to $285 this fall.

Full-time students will now pay about $3,500 per semester for 12 hours of instruction.

"We believe the school and its programs were under-valued," Madsen said.

Madsen said expanding the school's sports offerings is also expected to bring more students, with at least 10 new sports being added at the school.

The school also is expected to spend about $1 million to refurbish two student dormitories, Madsen said.

To help fund the improvements, Madsen said the school has seen increased donations from sources like the Creek Nation and American Baptist Church. Madsen said without his budget fixes and the increased private funding, Bacone College would have logged an $850,000 deficit for fiscal year 1999.

"We received these donations because we're doing the right things," Madsen said. "And by doing the right things, foundations are now interested in Bacone and supporting us. The timing is simply miraculous."

Madsen said Bacone's strength remains its associate's degree in nursing, but that the school this month is adding a bachelor's degrees in science and nursing, a bachelor's of science and business, and bachelor's of science and management.