Two Year Tuition Freeze For North Dakota Universities Voted Down

oversen

“I think you’ve almost guaranteed yourself a [tuition] freeze,” said Rep. Bob Martinson back in 2011 during a committee hearing in which legislators chastised North Dakota State University for a massive 8.8% tuition hike that went well beyond the guidelines legislators had set in the budget.

Today the North Dakota House had a chance to vote for a tuition freeze for the North Dakota University System with HB1328 introduced by Rep. Kylie Oversen (see my interview with her about the bill here), and they voted it down on a 29 – 60 vote (it’s worth noting that Rep. Martinson did, in fact, vote for the freeze).

In carrying the bill to the floor out of committee, where it had received a “do not pass” recommendation, Rep. David Rust said that the bill really isn’t a solution to soaring tuition rates. He’s right. The higher education bubble is being inflated by both national and state policies which subsidize college attendance through grants, government-backed loans and other policies. A two-year tuition freeze would only delay the problem, not fix it.

And it is a problem. As Rep. Oversen noted in her floor speech, North Dakota is 13th in the nation when it comes to per-student loan debt and 1st int he nation for the number of students leaving college with debt.

A freeze would have been a good thing, but only as a stepping stone to larger reforms. Unfortunately, the House today didn’t even take that first step.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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