With Approved Increases, Tuition At North Dakota's Largest Universities Up 115% Since 2002


Earlier this week the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education went along with a plan for tuition increases promoted by the university presidents and opposed by Chancellor Hamid Shirvani. These are just approved maximums, which technically means that the actual tuition increases might be lower, given the university presidents argued for these maximums on the grounds that they need the money.

We can probably count on the universities each hitting these maximums.

The increases, which averaged out to 4.1% across all of the state’s institutions, are just the latest substantial increase in tuition burden for students since 2002.

The raw data is below. Here’s a summary:


Research Institutions

The average tuition at North Dakota’s two largest universities – North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota – has increased by 115% since 2002, going from $2,929 to $6,312 if the tuition maximums are hit.

Four-Year Institutions

The average tuition at North Dakota’s four four-year institutions – Minot State, Dickinson State, Mayville State and Valley City State – has increased by 113% since 2002 from $2,248 to $4,797 if the maximum increases are met.

Two-Year Institutions

The growth in average tuition at the state’s five two-year institutions – Dakota College, Wahpeton, Williston State, Lake Region and Bismarck State – increased at a relatively more moderate rate than the other institutions thanks largely to the 2008 – 2010 school years during which tuition was held even at all institutions. The increase in average tuition will be 84% since 2002 if the maximums for the coming year are hit, going from $1,789 to $3,303.

And keep in mind, all of these increases are coming despite an average 16.2% increase in total appropriations to the universities every biennium from 2003-05 to 2011-13, and a just-approved 32% increase for the coming biennium (the legislature came in a little under Governor Dalrymple’s executive budget).

Enrollment during that time has grown just 8%:


You have to ask, where is all the extra money going? Why do the universities need more, despite generous legislative appropriations and dramatically increased tuition?

But, as Chancellor Hamid Shirvani is learning, asking those sort of questions will put a target on your back.

North Dakota University Tuition Increases