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NDSU 'State of the Student' blasts funding inequities

The student body president at North Dakota State University took aim Thursday at the funding gap between NDSU and the University of North Dakota during the first-ever "State of the Student" address on the Fargo campus.

The student body president at North Dakota State University took aim Thursday at the funding gap between NDSU and the University of North Dakota during the first-ever "State of the Student" address on the Fargo campus.

President Craig Kilber railed against the higher education funding formula that NDSU officials complain shortchanges the university.

"You can see that those that are falling behind will continue to fall behind until that gap is closed between us and other institutions and our peer institutions," Kilber said.

"When we see it right now, there's a disparity between us and UND."

Kilber was referring to a campus funding comparison prepared by the North Dakota University System that shows NDSU is at 48.6 percent of its peer group's funding level, while UND is at 56.1 percent.

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NDSU officials have used the comparison as ammunition in their push for more funding from the state Legislature.

Kilber said UND receives nearly $1,000 more per student in state general fund dollars than NDSU.

"That's a lot of money that could go to a lot of programs that our students could benefit from," he said.

The senior business administration major said NDSU also suffers from a faculty-student ratio of 21-to-1, compared with 15-to-1 at UND, and a staff-student ratio of 16-to-1, compared with 9-to-1 at UND.

Those statistics were similar to ones presented to the Senate Education Committee in January by Charles Harter, an NDSU accounting professor and presiding officer of the NDSU University Senate.

Harter, who attended Thursday's address, praised Kilber and student body vice president Jim Larson for bringing the equity issue to students' attention.

"In a way, it's a form of discrimination against our students relative to UND," he said.

Kilber said Larson came up with the idea of the State of the Student address as a way to inform students of the past year's accomplishments. Those included getting a full-time student lobbyist at the Legislature, he said.

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The address at Festival Concert Hall drew about 80 people, many of whom were honored afterward during the Bison Leadership Awards presentation.

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

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