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Mike Nowatzki column: Higher Education Notebook

Robert Erickson is pedaling his bike to offset the hike. Tuition hike, that is -- an average 13.6 percent increase at Minnesota state colleges and universities. Erickson, a former member of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, is biking 2,300 miles to so...

Robert Erickson is pedaling his bike to offset the hike.

Tuition hike, that is -- an average 13.6 percent increase at Minnesota state colleges and universities.

Erickson, a former member of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, is biking 2,300 miles to solicit scholarship money for part-time students and to make his case for changing Minnesota's financial aid program to recognize the needs of part-time students.

He'll roll up to the main gates at Minnesota State University Moorhead, 11th Street South and Seventh Avenue, at 1 p.m. Friday.

Erickson said part-time students will be hardest hit by tuition increases this fall because they typically don't qualify for financial aid.

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"These students don't carry a full load of classes because they are often juggling family, work and other obligations," Erickson said in an MSUM news release. "Adjustments to Minnesota's 20-year-old financial aid program are long overdue."

Erickson raised $79,000 last year during the same tour. He began this year's 29-day trek at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids on Aug. 25.

The 57-year-old currently serves on the board of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation.

Family discount

Starting in January, spouses and children of full-time faculty and staff at Mayville (N.D.) State University will be able to earn academic credits at half price, President Pamela Balch announced in her first State of the University address.

Balch offered the change as her first step toward recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty and staff.

The decision "was one that warranted some deep reflection and analysis by the President's Cabinet, but it is one we offer with gratitude and appreciation," she said.

Balch also announced the results of the university's search for a permanent development director. Mayville dentist Dr. Bill Krivarchka started in the position Sept. 1. He'll work with Balch to reorganize the development office and in major fund-raising efforts.

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For the record

The Chronicle of Higher Education last week released its annual almanac issue, which includes a state-by-state roundup of the year's top stories in higher education.

Making the list in North Dakota were the 2.5 percent budget cut for the state University System and the scaling back of a loan forgiveness program for teachers and technical workers as a result.

The state Board of Higher Education's decision to allow North Dakota State University to offer two doctoral degrees in education, despite objections by the University of North Dakota, also received a mention.

Other noteworthy items included the average 15.5 percent tuition increase at the state's 11 public institutions for fall 2003 and the defeat of the so-called "Youth Initiative" tax incentive proposal last November.

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

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