ND University System Seeks $84-Million Funding Increase - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND University System Seeks $84-Million Funding Increase

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North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani wants more of your money. He is looking for an $84-million hike for higher education.

That is a 16-percent increase from current funding and would bring state funding to nearly $600-million.

Valley News Live broke down the proposal and asked the Chancellor if all the money is necessary and how it will impact students and tax payers.

The official request will be released in Governor Jack Dalrymple's two year executive budget Wednesday morning.

We do know a couple of the Chancellor's "big ticket items." Some of them may concern you.

About $25-million would go towards things like salary and retirement increases and costs of living for inflation. $146-million would support 14 campus construction projects. That includes money for the first phase in constructing a new medical school at UND and a new classroom and laboratory building at NDSU. $8.5-million would go towards doubling the size of the University System staff.

We asked the Chancellor if all of these options were really the best use of your money. He responded, "I can assure you that is given that what has happened in the past 10-15 years in the North Dakota University System that's the best investment we can make. Because that's not the bureaucracy. That's providing academic leadership and oversight."

The other question we asked about is who will fund all of these expenses if the budget is approved. "My intention at least on the board is to do our best to not pass on the bill to the students. So the more funding we get here, the less possibility of any increases on fees and tuition," said Shirvani.

We were then able to speak with State Legislator Joe Heilman. We asked if the students would not pay for the extra expenses, who would. He said it will come down to the taxpayers.

As for how you students will be helped through this request. Shirvani says there are some scholarships being set aside, but the money will increase the quality of a student's education. That means their costs will not be lowered much if at all.

Heilman says he will be going through line by line to determine if some of the requests are overboard. He has some reservations about salary increases and the number of University System positions requested. He said the goal is to keep costs to students at a minimum and make sure taxpayers are not paying more than they need to.

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