North Dakota’s colleges and universities can now enjoy the record budget in the state. On the final day of the 63rd Legislative Session, the state approved a new system to fund campuses based on credits that students successfully complete, rather than on the number of students enrolled.
The new formula is aimed at improving education as well as putting quality students out into the workforce at a faster pace by graduating them on time.
Senate Bill 2003 was approved after numerous conference committees and appropriates $896.3 million to the 11 colleges and universities.
Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) said more than a third of the total is one-time funding, mostly for new buildings and the budget for ongoing expenses is up 12 percent.
He stressed that lawmakers should look at other department budgets, which grew by more, and had less “big picture” items.
“This is OK for students,” he said of the budget. “We can live with this.” More than $154 million was allocated for buildings, including a new medical school at the University of North Dakota and more than $13 million combined for Williston State College’s campus drive project ($1.7 million) and Stevens Hall project ($11.63 million).