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NDSU seeks tuition boost

North Dakota State University will recommend a 16.2 percent tuition increase to the state Board of Higher Education at its meeting Thursday in Fargo.

North Dakota State University will recommend a 16.2 percent tuition increase to the state Board of Higher Education at its meeting Thursday in Fargo.

The university will propose raising its 2003-04 tuition rate by $470, from $2,904 to $3,374, officials said Tuesday.

The added revenue will help cover the rising costs of inflation, salaries, health insurance and new facilities, said Dick Rayl, NDSU's vice president for business and finance.

A $1.5 million cut in NDSU's general fund appropriation from the state Legislature over the next two years also will contribute to higher tuition, he said.

NDSU is budgeting for a $1.7 million increase in health insurance costs for the biennium, plus $1.5 million to fund the construction of a horse barn and renovation of a historic building into a downtown Fargo campus.

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Faculty members are scheduled to receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2003-04. The university has budgeted for a similar increase the following year, but nothing is set in stone, Rayl said.

That goes for tuition, as well, he said. The increase for 2004-05 is expected to be around $470.

"A lot of this will depend on some of the costs and also on student enrollment," he said.

NDSU has received 3,700 applications for admission next fall, compared with 3,400 a year ago, said George Wallman, vice president for student affairs.

The university is a year ahead of pace to reach President Joseph Chapman's goal of 12,000 students by 2006, he said.

Wallman said he doesn't believe the tuition hike will impact enrollment.

"It's relative to what's going on all across the country," he said. "It's a trend right now. It isn't going to move us out of a competitive advantage," Wallman said.

The university lost tuition dollars from about 90 students who were called to active duty this spring, said David Wahlberg, director of university news. Global tensions and visa restrictions also make it difficult to predict whether international students will enroll, he said.

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But NDSU isn't alone in its tuition struggles.

Valley City State University is proposing a 20.3 percent increase, or $447, for next year, President Ellen Earle-Chaffee announced Tuesday.

"We have seen this coming and tried to prevent it," Earle-Chaffee wrote in her weekly column. "However, costs have gone up and revenues have gone down faster than we anticipated."

The University of North Dakota will propose raising tuition no more than 16.5 percent for the university and 14.1 percent for the School of Medicine, media relations coordinator Peter Johnson said.

The added revenue will allow UND to raise faculty salaries closer to peer levels and cover a $1.8 million cut in its general fund appropriation, he said.

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

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