Why Did North Dakota’s Universities Get More Than 5 Times the COVID-19 Funding K-12 Schools Did?

Third-grade students work on projects on their first day of class on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School in Moorhead. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

MINOT, N.D. — Let’s do some math.

The fall 2019 enrollment number for full-time equivalent students in North Dakota’s public K-12 schools was 110,797.

All of those kids are North Dakota residents.

The fall 2019 enrollment for North Dakota’s public institutions of higher education was 35,353 full-time equivalent students.

Nearly half of them, something like 45%, are from other states.

In the spring, Congress appropriated to North Dakota a sum of $1.25 billion as a part of the CARES Act funding to help with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state Emergency Commission (read: the executive branch) appropriated that money while state lawmakers refused to do their jobs and convene in a special session.

The result, as it pertains to the policy area of education, was North Dakota’s universities taking home nearly $62 million while the K-12 schools got a relatively paltry $36 million.

If we break that down per student, the K-12 schools received less than $325 per student (based on the 2019 enrollment numbers).

The universities got nearly $1,750.

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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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