Tuition increase scheduled

VP Lexi Hanson (left) called a special meeting after seeing that the Higher Board of Education agenda called for discussion of tuition increases. Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student.

The State Board of Higher Education’s agenda caused quite a stir on the UND campus last week.

After releasing the agenda late on Feb. 24 in preparation for the meeting on Feb. 27, Student Governmental Affairs Representative John Mitzel found one item on the agenda regarding the discussion of the maximum tuition rate increase for both UND and NDSU for next year.

“We were caught off-guard,” Student Body President Nick Creamer said. “The meeting was only two days away, and it was really short notice.”

Last summer, the State Board of Higher Education was set to raise UND tuition rate by a maximum of 4.9 percent until Creamer and Vice President Lexi Hanson lobbied for the increase to be only 3.7 percent. The State Board was once again set to discuss a 4.9 percent increase for UND and NDSU.

Hanson, Creamer and the rest of the executives in Student Government believed it was necessary to call an emergency senate meeting on Feb. 27 to inform all the senators about what was happening and to discuss what they believed would be an acceptable tuition increase for next year.

They also spread the word on social media about the issue to raise awareness for students.

“We believe this warranted a conversation,” Creamer said. “We didn’t appreciate that they sprung this on us only two days in advance.”

Creamer also said he spoke with Vice President of Student Affairs Lori Reesor who said she had no knowledge of this item being put on the agenda until it was released. Reesor and her colleagues were also surprised by the short notice that was given for the issue.

Because the issue was also affecting NDSU, Creamer worked with NDSU’s Student Body President Robbie Lauf to talk to Board Chair Kristen Diederich about their concerns because of the short notice given to the public.

The day before the meeting, the item was pulled from the agenda. Creamer was told it was removed because of the short notice given.

“It’s possible it also could have been on put on by mistake,” Creamer said. “Regardless, at some point it will be discussed.”

At that point, Creamer will lobby to have the maximum tuition increase be less than 4.9 percent for next year.

“We want a demonstrated need on the side of the university because they have not pointed to a specific need,” Creamer said. “This is fair for us to ask because it is well beyond the rate of inflation.”

Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].