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MSUM sets record straight on tuition rate differences

In defending an 18 percent tuition hike next year, North Dakota State University President Joseph Chapman has said tuition will still be less than at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

In defending an 18 percent tuition hike next year, North Dakota State University President Joseph Chapman has said tuition will still be less than at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

That's true for students who graduate in four years -- but most don't.

Let's compare:

With a full load of 30 credits per year -- the amount needed to graduate in four years -- NDSU students will pay $4,707 in tuition and fees in 2004-05. MSUM's projected tuition and fees for next year is $4,797.

But this year, the average undergraduate student at NDSU is taking 28.4 credits per year, not 30. At MSUM, the average load is 27 credits per year.

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Using a middle ground of 28 credits per year, NDSU's tuition and fees would remain at $4,707, but MSUM's tuition and fees would drop to $4,519.

At 24 credits per year, the gap is even greater: $4,707 at NDSU, $3,961 at MSUM.

Why the disparity? NDSU charges full-time students -- those taking 12 or more credits -- a flat rate for tuition and fees. MSUM charges by the credit, with fees dropping off after the 12th credit.

MSUM spokesman Doug Hamilton said he understands why NDSU needed to lobby the state Board of Higher Education to approve its higher tuition rate.

"But I have a little problem with us being used in the comparison, saying it'll cost you hundreds of dollars more to go to MSUM, and it doesn't," he said.

"We use the numbers from a national benchmark," NDSU spokesman David Wahlberg said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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