A recent spat between State Board of Higher Education members and a couple of university presidents over tuition policy for out-of-state students illustrates exactly why Governor Doug Burgum’s proposed changes to university governance are such a bad idea.

If you haven’t been following along, recently South Dakota announced that they would be granting in-state tuition status to students from neighboring states like North Dakota. Presidents of institutions in the North Dakota University System – notably NDSU’s Dean Bresciani and Wahpeton’s John Richman – hit the panic button and rushed to the State Board of Higher Education demanding a blank check to set their own tuition policy.

“We have the opportunity to respond to an immediate enrollment threat to the state of North Dakota,” Bresciani told the board at a December 6 meeting. “When I say immediate, I don’t mean somewhere down the road. We’re in the heat of the enrollment cycle right now. South Dakota was not accidental for implementing this for this summer.”

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