N.D. colleges to limit tuition increases to 3.5 percentNorth Dakota’s four-year colleges should limit their tuition increases to 3.5 percent for the next school year, according to guidelines approved Wednesday by a Board of Higher Education subcommittee.
By: By Dale Wetzel, The Associated Press , The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — North Dakota’s four-year colleges should limit their tuition increases to 3.5 percent for the next school year, according to guidelines approved Wednesday by a Board of Higher Education subcommittee.
The guidelines say tuition charges at North Dakota’s two-year schools will remain unchanged. The state’s university system has six four-year universities and five two-year colleges.
Pay raises for campus employees should average 5 percent during the next budget year, with a minimum increase for full-time workers of $100 per month, the guidelines say.
The three-member subcommittee includes the board’s president and vice president, Richie Smith and Jon Backes, and board member Duaine Espegard. The full board, which has eight voting members, is expected to endorse the tuition limits during its meeting in Devils Lake next week.
Budget legislation approved by the North Dakota Legislature last year said the board should limit college tuition increases to 4 percent annually for the 2009-2010 and 2010-11 school years. In a bid to further slow the rise of college costs, the board decided to lower the cap to 3.5 percent.
Any North Dakota college that wants to raise its tuition by more than 3.5 percent next year will have to get the board’s permission to do so. If an increase greater than 4 percent is desired, it will have to be approved by a legislative interim committee, called the Budget Section, which includes members of the appropriations committees in the North Dakota House and Senate.
Laura Glatt, the state university system’s vice chancellor for administrative affairs, said Wednesday she did not believe any of the system’s 11 schools would request a tuition increase greater than 3.5 percent.
Separately, the subcommittee said North Dakota State University would have to revise its request to tie its program fees for two athletic trainer programs to North Dakota resident tuition rates for undergraduate and graduate students.
Backes said he was concerned that levying the fees as a percentage of a flat-rate tuition charge would result in automatic cost increases for students, regardless of how many class hours they were taking.
“It is, perhaps, getting the cart in front of the horse, and may result in challenges to the affordability of the system to our students,” Backes said.