Two Year Tuition Freeze For North Dakota Universities Voted Down


“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 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.

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  • RCND

    This was a good bill that would have forced the University System to take a hard look at their bottom line. It is unfortunate it did not pass.

    • Roy_Bean

      It might be a good thing that it didn’t pass. Any sign of reason by the university system will make an initiated measure harder to pass.

  • ND in MD

    So, NDSU’s private aircraft is safe for now?

  • Kevin Flanagan

    How about a freeze on compensation for those latched onto the government teat?

    • jimmypop

      NOW you are starting to address the REAL problem.

  • Goon

    This is going to come crashing down like everything else as well.

  • jimmypop

    “A freeze would have been a good thing”

    how very conservative of you….. no, it would not have. in fact, i contend tuition needs to go MUCH higher. how much money do tax payers give these kids that either leave our state when done or were not from here to begin with? people need to pay for what they are given. there is nothing wrong with people of their own free will showing up to pay for a product if they choose to pay it. if they want to go to buy a cheaper box they can. they CHOOSE not to.

    if you have a problem with the cost increases an NDUS colleges you need to address THAT problem. asking ND tax payers to pay more (thats what going to happen) is a whole different level of crazy.

  • ND Observer

    A freeze on University Administrator pay and a cut in administrative positions would have been far more effective. Growth in Administrative positions and administrative pay is out of control. There have been new Vice Presidents and several new Associate and Assistant Vice President’s at UND for example,. none of them adding to the quality of education. Student tuition is paying for that foolishness.