Members of the State Board of Higher Education’s Budget and Finance Committee this week discussed when students pay a higher tuition rate, and sought to clarify how they are notified of a rate increase.

Students, primarily at UND and North Dakota State University, pay what is called "differential tuition" for certain majors, including nursing and engineering. When those students begin paying higher tuition depends on when they are accepted into the program and when they declare their major. Differential tuition is the result of majors that previously had program fees.

Board member Nick Hacker said it is very clear when students in some of those majors will need to pay higher tuition, but wondered about other majors. Students who receive college credit in high school, he said, create some confusion as to when they are charged the higher rate. Hacker said he wonders specifically about the pharmacy major at NDSU.

“I think those are the areas that create this vagueness of when the student is going to start to be charged … when it's not based on admission into a program or declaration of major,” he said.

Daniel Friesner, with NDSU’s school of pharmacy, said students apply to the early admission program in high school, when they receive a letter indicating they will need to pay differential tuition.

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Friesner said it is “student specific” as to when the higher rate kicks in, as they have different numbers of college credits coming into the university.

UND representatives attending the committee meeting withdrew their agenda item regarding differential tuition for a master’s degree in athletic training, and presumably will discuss it at another meeting.

Committee members also moved to have two salary studies carried out for presidential searches at NDSU and the North Dakota State College of Science. The SBHE determines presidential salaries from various sources, including the College and University Professionals Association, which provides salary information on an annual basis by campuses across the U.S. Committee members wanted to include other data sets for their consideration.

Hacker cautioned the studies might not be completed in time for the full board’s meeting in December. A special meeting will need to be held to consider the studies before that December meeting.

“I would be comfortable with this, knowing that if it doesn't get completed, we're going to have to shoot from the hip a little bit,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the SBHE’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee signed off on three new academic programs, while removing another.

At UND, the committee approved a new Ph.D. in education, health and behavior studies, which will replace the existing program. The new doctoral program will offer students the choice to specialize in different areas, while providing a common core of academic programming.

Bismarck State College will begin offering two new certificates in applied college studies and career readiness.

Committee members approved removing a bachelor of science degree in athletic training, as new criteria call for those students to have a master’s degree to sit for board exams. That master’s program will be offered at UND.