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Politics & Government

A change in the tuition reciprocity program between ND and MN

ND University System

North Dakota colleges will be getting a little less money from Minnesota under the tuition reciprocity agreement.

The agreement allows a Minnesota student to enroll in a North Dakota college at a tuition rate of 112-percent of what an undergraduate North Dakota student pays in tuition. For graduate students, it would be 127 percent. But because there are more Minnesota students attending North Dakota colleges than vice-versa, the state of Minnesota makes a supplement payment to help pay for the educational costs for Minnesota students.

University system chief financial officer Tammy Dolan said Minnesota sends about 10,600 students to North Dakota schools – but the number of North Dakota students attending Minnesota schools has been dropping.  That means…

"For the 2015 academic year, the calculated amount was $11.6 million," Dolan said. However, she told the State Board of Higher Education the new reciprocity agreement will cap that amount – because of Minnesota’s higher-ed appropriation.

"They have an appropriation of $11. 018 million for fiscal years 18 and 19," Dolan said. "That's a total of just over $22 million for the upcoming biennium."

That would mean a shortfall of about $1.3 million. Dolan told the Board this means the North Dakota schools have to pick up that lost revenue.

"Those institutions receiving Minnesota students would either need to absorb that difference, or they could increase the tuition surcharge to off-set that difference," Dolan said.

But any increase in a tuition surcharge won’t happen in this academic year, because the Board has already set tuition rates.

UND and NDSU already have big percentages of their student bodies from Minnesota. Board chairman Don Morton said there is a real value to having Minnesota students cross the river.

"We (ND) just don't turn out enough STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students," Morton told the Baord. "This allows us to have the engineering classes we have."

And Morton said there's another good reason to attract Minnesota students.

"Tourism is a big industry in the state of North Dakota," Morton said. "College students are tourists that come and stay for the winter. They have a tremendous impact beyond tuition -- and it's all positive."

The Board unanimously approved the new reciprocity agreement. And Board members said they will look at the tuition issue next year – to see if there may need to be some adjustments.

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