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Tu-Uyen Tran, Forum Communications Co., Published January 20 2011

UND appeals to House panel for more funding

BISMARCK – University of North Dakota officials gave their budget presentation Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, hoping to get more funding than recommended by the governor.

The State Board of Higher Education’s proposed budget for UND is $214.2 million. Gov. Jack Dalrymple requested $156.9 million. Much of Wednesday’s discussion was about the difference.

Criticism from the subcommittee included questioning whether the university system was as efficient as it could be and whether the state was subsidizing education for out-of-state students.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, who chairs the Education and Environment Division, said he worried about the continually growing spending on higher education and felt the state ought to focus on the quality of education more than the quantity of it.

Between fiscal year 1999 and 2009, state funding for the university system grew by about 37.3 percent, for example.

UND President Bob Kelley said the university does have to work in a competitive market. Maintaining the quality of faculty, staff and facilities is important, he said.

He also noted that last year the university eliminated 12 courses that weren’t relevant anymore.

“I don’t know if I’m answering your question, Rep. Skarphol, but we worry about the same thing,” he said.

Here are a few of the big projects UND officials talked about Wednesday:

Tran writes for the Grand Forks Herald