The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s budget and finance committee approved a measure allowing UND to adopt a subscription-based tuition model.

Committee members unanimously voted to approve the measure, which allows certain students attending UND online to pay a flat-rate fee to take as many, or as few, classes as they wish up to a certain number of credits. The measure is targeted at people who are not considered full-time, degree-seeking students. UND officials who attended the online meeting on Tuesday, June 15, thanked committee members for approving the proposal, which is meant to enhance workforce development efforts in the region.

Jeff Holm, vice provost for online education and strategic planning at UND, told committee members the measure gives “North Dakota citizens an opportunity to perhaps seek workforce development, education and skills in a different manner than is currently available.”

The new tuition model is meant to help students improve their skills, or work toward earning a certificate.

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The measure approves a flat rate of $4,950 per year, instead of part-time students paying by the class or credit hour. UND estimates the new model will save those students $715, and it anticipates about 100 students a year will pursue the option.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, committee members approved the UND and the UND Alumni Association and Foundation’s request to refinance revenue bonds for the School of Medicine’s Family Practice Center in Minot. The committee OK’d up to $1,645,484 in new bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates, which will save the school $267,000 per year on its lease payments. The bonds are set to mature in 2028.

When asked by a board member if it is necessary to take a vote on an action that saves money for a school in the North Dakota University System, Eric Olson, an attorney for the State Board of Higher Education, responded that it is required under the North Dakota Century Code.

All actions taken at the Budget and Finance Committee need to be brought before the full board, at a late June meeting.