Most North Dakota colleges seek to increase tuition; DSU aims for affordability

Most schools in the North Dakota University System will be increasing tuition by about 4%, though the rate increases themselves vary from school to school and program to program, Tammy Dolan, chief financial officer of the NDUS, said.

NDUS North Dakota University System logo

GRAND FORKS — Tuition rates likely will be going up for many colleges in North Dakota.

Most of the institutions in the North Dakota University System will be increasing tuition by about 4%, though the rate increases themselves vary from school to school and program to program, said Tammy Dolan, chief financial officer of the NDUS.

The State Board of Higher Education approved the requested 2021-22 tuition changes during its regular meeting, Thursday, May 27. As part of the approval process, the board approved the system’s budget guidelines, which then go back to the university presidents to complete their 2021-23 budgets. Those budgets have to be approved by the chancellor.

“Nothing, in my opinion, is out of line,” Dolan said of the increase requests.

In the past, legislators have put a ceiling on the percentage increases on tuition for the university system. However, legislators did not ask for such caps during the most recent session of the Legislature.


“I think that, to me, probably shows that we’re gaining more trust with them that we will manage (the increases) at an appropriate level,” Dolan said, adding she believes the increase requests are “reasonable.”

The tuition rates of North Dakota’s institutions are fairly similar to other schools in the region. On average, tuition rates for the state’s community colleges are slightly higher than others in the region. Meanwhile, the smaller four-year institutions — such as Mayville, Minot, Valley City and Dickinson — are slightly below their regional counterparts. North Dakota’s research universities — UND and North Dakota State — are slightly above others in the region, Dolan said.

Dickinson State is the only school in the system that did not ask to raise its tuition for the 2023 school year.

In a news release, DSU said the decision will lock in educational costs “in an effort to help them and their families better afford higher education in the midst of rising educational costs across the country.”

Freezing tuition and fees will also help “support strategic enrollment management goals at DSU aimed at increasing” headcount, full-time enrollment and credit production.

Other board news

The board also selected Grand Forks doctor Casey Ryan as the next chair of the State Board of Higher Education. Board members also selected Jill Louters, superintendent for the New Rockford-Sheyenne School District, as vice chair.

After lengthy discussion, a lease agreement between the North Dakota State College of Science and the school’s foundation for a new workforce academy project was approved by a 5-3 vote of the board. The lease agreement is several years in the making and will allow the college to move forward with the development of a workforce academy facility.

Thursday, board members discussed the logistics of the agreement. NDSCS will be responsible for rent, insurance, taxes and specials payable to the NDSCS Foundation, according to a document provided with the agenda. NDSCS will share the operational costs of the facilities with the various school districts utilizing the facility, including Northern Cass Public Schools, Central Cass Public Schools, West Fargo Public Schools and Fargo Public Schools.

Sydney Mook has been the news editor at the Post Bulletin since June 2023. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook was previously with the Grand Forks Herald from May 2018 to June 2023. She served as the Herald's managing editor, as well as the higher education reporter.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 507-285-7771.
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