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Amy Dalrymple, Published January 15 2009

Growth key in budget request

NDSU trying to limit tuition hike

BISMARCK – Supporting North Dakota State University’s growing enrollment and collaborations with other campuses highlighted the university’s budget request Wednesday to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

President Joseph Chapman supports Gov. John Hoeven’s budget recommendation, which would give NDSU $127.5 million in base funding and one-time dollars for 2009-11.

With that funding, NDSU students would see 5.2 percent tuition increases.

NDSU officials also told legislators they support the state Board of Higher Education’s additional $8.2 million request to control tuition increases for the entire system.

If that’s approved, NDSU could limit tuition increases to 4 percent or less, said John Adams, vice president for finance and administration.

Joe Heilman, the student body president, told legislators modest tuition increases give NDSU a competitive edge.

“We certainly feel that tuition should remain as low as it can,” Heilman said.

Chapman emphasized to legislators the various partnerships NDSU has with businesses and other campuses, including the University of North Dakota.

“I have to tell you, and I hope this doesn’t upset you, but (President) Bob Kelley and I have actually become good friends,” said Chapman, drawing chuckles from the committee. “We really have found some terrific opportunities to collaborate.”

In the past, some have criticized the two research universities for being too competitive.

Included in NDSU’s budget request is about $5 million in equity funding. That would get NDSU closer to how it is funded compared to similar universities in the country.

It would be used to hire more faculty and staff, which is critical as enrollment continues to grow, Adams said.

Other items in the budget:

- $13 million for renovation of Minard Hall, the main classroom building that is about 100 years old.

- $5.4 million for deferred maintenance on other campus buildings.

- About $200,000 to hire more armed security and public safety officers and fund an emergency notification system.

- 5 percent annual salary increases for faculty and staff.

In addition, NDSU is seeking legislative approval for projects that would be paid for through student fees or other sources that are not state funds.

Those include a $20 million campus apartment expansion, a $7 million renovation to West Dining Hall and the Auxiliary Enterprises building and a $1.1 million expansion of student health services.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590