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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published December 09 2010

Higher ed sees support in budget

Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s budget recommendation reflects strong support for the state’s colleges and universities, higher education officials and student leaders said Wednesday.

Andrew Brown, president of the North Dakota Student Association, called it a “welcome surprise” that Dalrymple proposes to cap tuition increases at 2.5 percent for state universities. Tuition at two-year colleges would be frozen.

Many other priorities for students were included in Dalrymple’s proposal, including providing mental health services at all 11 campuses, Brown said.

“It seems like the governor and the students of the university system are all on the same page, which is a very good sign for us,” Brown said.

Dalrymple recommends an $82 million increase in ongoing funding for higher education for 2011-13, as well as $46 million in one-time funding for major building projects.

He said he plans to work with the state Board of Higher Education to establish a Commission on Higher Education to “improve the equity, the transparency, and the effectiveness of higher education funding.”

Dalrymple included

$5 million for a new approach to higher education funding. It would provide incentive funding to campuses based on how they perform on certain measurements, such as increasing degrees awarded and students graduating on time.

Board President Jon Backes said he thinks exploring a funding model based on performance is exciting.

“It’s a direction that higher education is moving across the nation,” Backes said. “This will allow North Dakota to be at the front edge of that.”

One of the highlights for North Dakota State University is the funding of the final phase for NDSU’s research greenhouse complex.

“It comes as no surprise that the governor is someone who understands the game-changing impact of that facility,” said NDSU President Dean Bresciani.

The major higher education request missing from Dalrymple’s budget is a significant expansion of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The board asked for

$28.9 million for a health sciences facility, as well as other resources to expand the number of medical and allied health students.

“We just didn’t feel like it was within reach in this cycle,” said Jeff Zent, a spokesman for Dalrymple.

However, the governor would not discourage legislators from taking a look at the medical school proposal, Zent added.

Dalrymple did include funding for a master of public health program that NDSU and UND plan to offer together, as well as funding to expand training in geriatrics at UND.

“Those two additions to our budget will go a long way to addressing some of the health care needs of North Dakota,” said Joshua Wynne, dean of UND’s School of Medicine.


Gov. Jack Dalrymple recommends an $82 million increase in ongoing funding for higher education, as well as $46 million in one-time funding. Highlights include:

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