Higher education has been the subject of much debate in North Dakota. Currently the state’s university presidents are in the process of trying to push out a reform-minded Chancellor who wants to raise academic and admissions standards in the state. And for good reason, because the state’s remediation and graduation rates are atrocious.
The university presidents’ chief stooge in the legislature is state Senator Tony Grindberg, who has been pushing legislation to buy out Chancellor Hamid Shirvani’s contract. Again, the motivation to push Shirvani out is to replace him with a leader who is less reform-minded.
So it’s a little funny to hear Senator Grindberg argue on the floor of the senate for a huge new subsidy – a $400 million fund carved out of the state’s oil-fueled Legacy Fund – for college tuition on the grounds that it will “challenge” students and increase “academic rigor.” That’s actually what Chancellor Shirvani has been trying to accomplish, and what Gindberg has been trying to block.
What Senator Grindberg’s tuition subsidy actually does is funnel more money into the university system, using students as a delivery mechanism. In short, this doesn’t bill doesn’t help students so much as it makes the universities richer as they will inevitably increase tuition to take advantage of this new money.
Here’s the video of the floor debate: