Nonresidents must pay for full tuition
Lloyd Omdahl's recent editorial takes on the North Dakota Taxpayer's Association saying they want to reduce the number of nonresident students at North Dakota universities. We do not need to reduce the number of nonresident students; let's welcom...
Lloyd Omdahl's recent editorial takes on the North Dakota Taxpayer's Association saying they want to reduce the number of nonresident students at North Dakota universities. We do not need to reduce the number of nonresident students; let's welcome all of them, but only as long as they pay the full cost of their education.
NDTA is correct: North Dakota taxpayers are subsidizing nonresidents' tuition to the tune of $200 million every year.
Omdahl is incorrect: nonresidents make up nearly one half (much more than the 35 percent he claims) of the students in our universities. When you consider that all students can claim residency after one year, that number is more staggering. Omdahl claims each student injects $8,000 into the local economy. You do the math: 17,000 non-resident students spend $136 million locally. That's a far cry from the $200 million they are costing us.
Let's do some more math: In the last 10 years, the number of North Dakota students attending North Dakota universities has increased 9 percent while nonresident enrollment has risen 57 percent. There are over 10,000 students from Minnesota attending North Dakota universities but there are fewer than 600 full time equivalent North Dakota students in Minnesota universities. Is this a fair and economically sustainable reciprocity?
Even more stunning is Omdahl's claim that "once (universities) come into existence, they are obligated to help society educate young people, regardless of residence." On its face that is an outrageous demand of North Dakota citizens. Omdahl apparently skipped the Constitution 101 class. Our state constitution provides for an educational system for the children of North Dakota. Nowhere in statute, code or constitution are we obligated to educate everyone "regardless of residence."
State universities are recruiting nonresident students by offering in-state tuition. You heard right: At many of our state's universities, all nonresidents pay the same tuition as residents. They advertise that nonresidents will pay in-state tuition to attend "one of the premier universities in the Great Plains." Since ours are premier universities, why are we charging bargain-basement prices? We have a quality product and we should charge what it's worth.
This state's taxpayers have no obligation to subsidize tuition of students whose parents have never paid a dime into our state's revenues. Instead of mortgaging us into bankruptcy, let's support a university system that is sustainable and equitable. Have nonresident students pay the full cost of their education.
Charlene Nelson, Casselton