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UND: Students face tuition hike
Kupchella: Higher payments will fund boosts in salaries

, Herald Staff Writer

Source: Grand Forks Herald,  March 21, 2002

UND students will pay at least $200 more in tuition next year, and the money that is generated will be used to boost staff and faculty salaries, university President Charles Kupchella said Wednesday.

Kupchella went with a recommendation from UND's Planning and Budget Review Committee to increase tuition by the maximum amount allowed by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education. The board is letting university presidents set their own tuition prices for the next academic year, within a range of 5.5 and 7.3 percent, as a way of granting more local control to the schools.

Despite the increase, Kupchella said, an education at UND is still quite a deal when compared with other similarly sized and equipped institutions around the nation.

"It's one of the greatest bargains on planet Earth," he said.

Next fall, a North Dakota resident undergraduate at UND will pay $2,960 in annual tuition - $200 more than this year. That compares with a regional tuition average of more than $3,400 and a national average of $4,000, according to figures supplied by the Office of the President at UND.

Resident graduate students will pay $210 more, and law students with North Dakota residency will pay nearly $300 more. UND medical students from North Dakota will see their tuition bill go up by $900.

Nonresident undergraduates will pay $530 more next year.

Because the Minnesota Legislature still has not addressed reciprocity issues dealing with tuition of out-of-state students, figures still aren't available on how much Minnesota students going to UND will have to pay in tuition.

UND students also could see their fees go up by $50 next fall, if the university's Student Senate approves a measure to renovate Hyslop Sports Center into a new $8 million health and wellness center. The increased fees would cover annual bond payments for the new center, as well as operational costs.

Alice Brekke, director of the budget office at UND, said money raised from the tuition increases will be used to fund a 6-percent-average bump in faculty salaries and a 4-percent-average raise for other staff members.

Most of the money for the faculty raises will be handled by individual colleges at UND and will not be dealt across the board, Brekke said. Instead, she said, those raises will be doled out on the bases of merit, internal comparisons and external market factors.

The raises for other university employees also will not be across the board, she said.

A small percentage of the money reserved for faculty raises, Brekke said, will target "at-risk" positions - faculty members whose pay is way below the market average. John Ettling, vice president for academic affairs and provost, is heading up a study to determine which positions on campus are considered at risk.

Last year, UND faculty members received an average salary increase of 7 percent. Other employees received smaller raises. Those increases and the ones coming next fall are a result of Kupchella's attempts to improve UND's dismal national ranking in employee salaries.

Kupchella has said that he would need about $8 million more per year just to get faculty salary levels on par with the national average for comparable institutions.

"What we are trying to address is that our salaries are among the lowest in the nation," Kupchella said. "Faculty salaries are a top priority for us, and the money we're talking about here is going for that purpose."