NDSU’s Funding Problems Have Everything To Do With Tuition Waivers
NDSU President Dean Bresciani was up to his old tricks again recently, demanding more funding from the State Board of Higher Education. To hear Bresciani tell it, NDSU is underfunded despite getting a 98% increase in total appropriations from the state since 2003:
The argument Bresciani makes is that while NDSU has gotten increased levels of funding, their per-student funding lags behind other schools:
“Because of the growth in our productivity, the increase in research productivity, and the increase in our contributions back to the state, we’ve simply outgrown the budget that we had,” Bresciani said.
Compared to UND, NDSU has about 3,000 more students, but receives nearly $15.5 million less from the state. That means each student at UND is allotted roughly $1,300 more than a student at NDSU.
The state gives Valley City State University more than $9,000 per student, where NDSU receives less than $5,000.
Setting aside for a moment the fact that the different schools have different missions and thus different funding needs (medical students at UND, as just one example, are more expensive to educate), why is NDSU so behind in per-student funding?
It has everything to do with NDSU’s efforts to inflate enrollment through tuition waivers. NDSU gives away more tuition through waivers than any other school in the North Dakota University System. In fact, NDSU’s $15.2 million in tuition waivers granted last academic year is roughly twice what is given out by the school with the next higher amount in waivers (UND at $8.6 million).
The millions NDSU gives away in waivers represent more than 20% of the university’s tuition revenues.
These waivers inflate NDSU’s enrollment without the corresponding increase in tuition revenues that come from paying students. So of course NDSU’s per-student funding is out of whack.
If they stopped giving away so much tuition, the per-student funding disparities would disappear. NDSU’s funding problems are a creation of NDSU’s leadership. If that leadership won’t accept responsibility for it, perhaps it’s time for new leadership.Tags: dean bresciani, higher education, North Dakota News, north dakota state university