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Published May 08 2012

NDSU cutting classes, leaving positions unfilled to cut costs

FARGO – North Dakota State University plans to cut some class section offerings, leave open positions unfilled, and consolidate information technology systems in an effort to make up the money from a modest tuition increase that didn’t go through.

The university’s request for a half-percent tuition increase, which would have netted about $400,000, was rejected in February by the state Board of Higher Education.

NDSU President Dean Bresciani said the increase, which would have amounted to about $31 a year for undergraduates, would prevent cuts to services.

But Grant Shaft, president of the board, said any tuition increase would provoke retaliation from state legislators already fuming over NDSU’s 8.8 percent tuition hike last year.

Bresciani, who recently outlined the cost-cutting measures to students and faculty, said the university’s goals are twofold: minimize impact to students and avoid job losses.

The school won’t actually cut class sections with students in them, he said. Instead, it will pare back the extra sessions it offers when a class is in high demand, forcing students to take the class at another time of day or another semester.

NDSU will also freeze the hiring process for a vice president of information technology, even though it has already identified finalists for the job.

Bresciani said it’s cheaper to let the current interim continue on than make a new hire in a well-compensated position.

The school already has left another vice president’s job unfilled to save money.

The school is also looking at combining some information technology systems to consolidate costs.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502