University Of North Dakota Students Angered Over Tuition Hike They Say They Weren't Consulted About UPDATE: Agenda Item Pulled

Tomorrow the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education will discuss tuition increases for the state’s universities, including a nearly 5 percent hike for the University of North Dakota. But the UND student government, and a statewide student organization, apparently weren’t notified about the proposal despite the motion before the SBHE explicitly saying otherwise.

Student Body President Nick Creamer took to Twitter to alert his fellow students to the hike:

 

 

Vice President Alexis Hanson sent out this email to members of the Student Senate asking them to attend a special meeting scheduled for tomorrow:

From: UND Stugov Vice President
Date: February 26, 2014 at 11:58:27 AM CST

Subject: IMPORTANT: SPECIAL MEETING TOMORROW AT NOON!

Hello Senators – According to our by-laws, it is within our rights to call a special meeting if necessary as long as 24 hour notice is given. Some new information has come up regarding increases in both tuition and student fees that will be discussed tomorrow at the State Board of Higher Education Meeting at 1pm. In order to keep our entire senate informed and discuss this situation, we feel it is necessary to meet immediately. This is the official notice that a special meeting of the senate is being called for tomorrow, Thursday, February 27th at 12:00pm. More information will be coming as soon as I can provide it regarding location. It is imperative that we reach quorum so PLEASE understand that this is an emergency and your attendance is vital to making decisions tomorrow. Please let me know ASAP whether you can or cannot attend.

More information to come shortly,

Lexi

UND student government members I’ve spoken to tell me they’re afraid the SBHE will approve the tuition hike without the UND student government weighing in. The issue is on the SBHE agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, and this sentence from the proposed motion to hike tuition has UND students seeing red: “In all cases, the representative student groups have been consulted and support the increases.”

Members of the UND student government tell me they haven’t been consulted at all about the tuition. Creamer told me by phone that he hadn’t been consulted about the issue, and said he’s spoken to leadership at the North Dakota Student Association and said the issue wasn’t discussed was them either.

Creamer said he first learned about the proposed tuition increase late Monday, but not through any formal communication but rather through the released SBHE agenda. “I find less than a two day notice about an issue like this to be incredibly inappropriate,” he told me by phone today.

Student concern over yet another tuition hike is pretty understandable given the increases students have faced over the last decade. I wrote about them in March of last year after the SBHE approved increases. Here’s a chart showing a 115 percent increase in tuition at North Dakota’s two “research” universities (UND and NDSU).

graph3
It’s not just UND that’s facing a tuition hike. The motion the SBHE will consider tomorrow includes pretty aggressive tuition increases across the board:

tuitionhikes
Those hikes come despite the legislature lavishing money on the universities yet again. The legislature has averaged a 16.2 percent increase in total higher ed appropriations every biennium except for this one, when Governor Dalrymple requested (and the legislature gave him) a 32 percent increase.

And all of that over just an 8 percent increase in enrollment:

highered-640x391
Democrat state Rep. Kyle Oversen, who represents the Grand Forks area and is herself a recent UND graduate, proposed a tuition freeze last year during the legislative session but it was defeated.

Update: I’m told that the SBHE has pulled the tuition hikes from their agenda.

Update: The tuition hike has definitely been pulled from the agenda, though the SBHE is claiming it had nothing to do with the tuition issue.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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