Tuition cap approvedStudents at North Dakota’s six universities may see tuition increases capped at 3.5 percent this fall, the Board of Higher Education decided.
Students at North Dakota’s six universities may see tuition increases capped at 3.5 percent this fall, the Board of Higher Education decided.
The board, which met Thursday at Dickinson State University, voted 7-1 to approve the cap, while saying it would consider requests from colleges to increase tuition up to 4 percent. Should any come, the board may have to meet next week to consider them, said Laura Glatt, the state university system’s vice chancellor for administrative affairs.
The North Dakota Legislature, in writing the state university system’s two-year, $795 million budget for the next two years, planned for tuition increases of up to 4 percent annually at the state’s four-year colleges.
Haylee Cripe, the board’s student representative, called the lower limit “a friendly suggestion, a little added incentive to try and make it work.”
“We are kind of on the upswing now,” Cripe said of the university system’s new budget, which is 25 percent larger than the current spending plan. “We keep allowing budgets to go up and up, and we don’t ever really put a flex on the spending ... My impression is, what happens when the money is not there any more?”
Board member Duaine Espegard said he believed keeping tuition increases below the Legislature’s threshold would generate good will from lawmakers.
“We were kind of awash with money this time ... We were treated very, very well. I am appreciative of it,” Espegard said. “This is a signal that we appreciate that, and we’re going to try our best as well.”
Jon Backes, the board’s vice president, said he believed the panel should avoid automatically adopting the Legislature’s suggestions on tuition.
“If we immediately default to the maximum that the Legislature gives us, we are ceding to them our authority to make and set tuition,” Backes said. “Maybe 4 percent is justified in cases, and if it is, let’s look at that case and make a decision on it.”