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Board to consider 3.7 pct. tuition hike at UND

GRAND FORKS — The State Board of Higher Education will consider a maximum 3.7 percent increase in tuition at the University of North Dakota and rate hikes at other schools following a recommendation Thursday by its Budget and Finance Committee.

The recommendation will give nine of the other institutions in the state an average increase in tuition of 3.4 percent, with the exception of Williston State College, which will receive a larger-than-average increase to “catch up” to the cost of state’s other two-year institutions.

This lower recommendation comes after an agenda item that would have raised tuition an average of 4.2 percent at all institutions was removed when UND’s student government expressed concern that it wasn’t being consulted about the issue.

The committee consists of Chairman Duaine Espegard, board members Grant Shaft and Kari Reichert and staff adviser Janice Hoffarth. The motion, made by Shaft, passed 2-1 with Reichert voting against.

Reichert said she was concerned that the increase wasn’t “tailored to any sort of need or shortfall” from individual institutions.

North Dakota University System spokeswoman Linda Donlin said the proposed increases in tuition are to account for inflation, increased staff salaries and the “overall cost to continue.” The North Dakota Legislature had previously mandated that faculty and staff at University System schools receive raises averaging 3 percent each year, and a rise in tuition would help pay for that.

The committee also considered a shortage of $7 million in state-appropriated funds that were not granted during the last legislative session.

“For me the balance is, do we pass this on to the students or do we turn to the campuses and say, ‘You need to find those dollars elsewhere,’ “ Shaft said. “I’ve always been consistent on this. I always weigh on the side of the students.”

If the board approves the recommendation at its meeting March 27, the increases will be sent to each individual institution for the respective presidents to decide how much of an increase, within the cap, they would like to make.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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