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

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.

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  • Say It

    If I was paying all that tuiton nowdays, I would demand at least one ride on the university jet.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      They don’t let commoners on.

  • ec99

    And this doesn’t count the myriad of fees departments charge, not to mention what flight lessons cost for the aviation majors.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    This is all a side effect of separating students from the actual cost of education. Loans delay payment of the actual cost, and we’re getting to the point that students don’t expect to actually pay cash for their education. Can institutions really compete on cost any longer?

    Students expect to graduate with debt. They should not have any interest in the specifics of how a college uses their tuition, but they should have an interest in the size of their tuition.

    I like nice motels when I travel. I’ve stayed in a few when someone else pays for them. When I pay my own money, I stay at lower cost motels. I don’t care how the motel allocates its funds. I care about what I pay.

    Students are the same way about college. They may want the nicer amenities, but, if they have to pay for them, they’ll accept a lot less and put the priority on the most important things. As long as students continue to accept loans and debt as a way to pay for college, they continue to be insulated from the true cost until it is too late. They continue to have a distorted view of what a college education should be. Many of the other problems, such as the dropout rate, come back to the lack of personal investment in education.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Exactly right, and we have a real-world example for how easy-money loans create bubbles.

      Look at the housing market circa 2007.

    • sbark

      Its really no diff than healthcare…………a person walks into the Doc for a visit—doesnt ask cost or price compare because the Insurance or medicare foots the bill…………
      ……..a student just grabs a Fed Student loan which just pays a ever increasing tuition bill yearly——-the “market” is removed from the equation in both by govt action…….
      ………but then the public wails for govt action to correct the problem…..the problem is them.

  • earl the pearl

    Liberalism in action

  • furnace

    Is North Dakota EVER going to close some of our higher ed schools? WE DON’T NEED THAT MANY SCHOOLS. There must be a lot of duplication of programs with that many schools ~ not necessary.

    • ec99

      No. One more time, these campuses are all about bringing revenue into communities, not educating students. There would never be enough ND high school graduates to populate 11 universities. People complain that places like UND have an over 50% out of state student enrollment. That is the only way they can exist.

  • Guest

    Maybe if someone went to college they wouldn’t make basic grammar mistake such as “With Approves (sic) Increases, Tuition At North Dakota’s Largest Universities Up 115% Since 2002″ in banner headlines.

    • scanham2

      It is not a grammar mistake, just a simple typo which any reader should be able to figure out pretty quickly: the s key is right next to the d key. A little proofreading would have likely caught it.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Thanks for catching that! I’ll fix it.

  • Stuart

    With the idea of more money for Education continually owned by the Democrats…and Republicans afraid to be known as a party that doesn’t support education, can we expect any difference in the cost of education? It will continue to rise. And Educators will spend more.How about suggesting spending more of our Rainey Day Fund so we exhaust the fund here in ND? And then say we shouldn’t have spent so much money from that fund.
    That should work?

    Class-War Fare always seems to work!

  • sbark

    This is an industry just setting itself up for a fall. Students are beginning to realize what they get in a end product isnt worth what they are pouring into it, once they hit the job market and realize they basically have a home mtg payment to make on Educ bills.
    Oracles CEO forsees a big technology change, that changes the landscape on Higher Educ drastically, to the point of obsolesance.