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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 23 2011

Higher Education Notebook: Bill seeks tax cuts for college graduates

A bill introduced by a former North Dakota State University student body president seeks to give college graduates an incentive to work in North Dakota.

The bill offered by Rep. Joe Heilman, R-Fargo, would give North Dakota residents who are paying off student loans a break on their state income taxes.

House Bill 1356 would let residents reduce their taxable income by the amount of student loan payments they made during the year, up to $2,000.

For example, a resident who earns $40,000 a year and pays $2,000 a year in student loan payments would be able to reduce the state taxable income to $38,000.

Based on preliminary estimates, residents would save about $50 per year, Heilman said.

“It doesn’t seem like much now, but it adds up over 10, 20 years,” Heilman said.

The bill does not restrict the tax benefit to graduates of North Dakota colleges and universities. Heilman said he also wanted to offer the incentive to people who attended college in another state and want to return to North Dakota.

The bill is set for a hearing before the House Finance and Taxation Committee at 11 a.m. Monday.

Nursing ranks No. 1

The North Dakota State College of Science practical nursing program has been ranked No. 1 in the country.

NDSCS had 39 practical nursing students take the National Council Licensure Examination between last April 1 and Sept. 3.

All 39 students passed, and the 100 percent rate earned NDSCS the No. 1 ranking out of more than 1,000 programs in the U.S.

Nineteen of those students attended classes at NDSCS-Fargo, and 20 attended classes at the Wahpeton campus.

Provost search timeline

An NDSU committee has set a timeline for hiring a new provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The committee expects to forward candidates to President Dean Bresciani by mid-April.

The committee is scheduled to meet Feb. 9 to review applications and again on Feb. 23 to narrow the pool of candidates. The first interviews will be held March 5-6.

“The timeline is aggressive but necessary to hire a new provost long before the fall semester,” search committee Chairman Neil Gudmestad said in a news release. “This individual will also need to share President Bresciani’s vision of what NDSU can be in the future.”

More information about the search is at www.ndsu.edu/news/provost_search.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590 or adalrymple@forumcomm.com