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ND United President -- Higher Ed employees nervous about budgets

The president of North Dakota United said he’s hearing some angst from the state’s college campuses about what might happen to budgets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oil demand has dropped, meaning oil tax revenues have been reduced. In his budget guidelines given to state agencies, Governor Burgum has said colleges should prepare budgets based on 90 percent of the current funding formula.

"the last time we had a recession (in 2016), and oil prices dropped, higher ed lost something like 700 positions," said ND United President Nick Archuleta. "They trimmed all the fat they can trim. They're going to be cutting bone here -- no doubt."

Archuleta said Burgum told the campuses they could make up for some of that lost revenue through increased enrollment. But he said that’s not a given, either.

"We're going to be in some pretty tough economic times," Archuleta said. "There's some concern about whether or not families will be able to afford to help their students get to college."

Archuleta said that's true, whether it's on-line or on-campus.

Archuleta said the federal CARES act has money for higher education institutions – but that money has been slow in coming. He said he doesn’t know how much money the campuses will get – and he hopes guidance will be issued soon.

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