Higher ed boost includes UND
BISMARCK -- The state's higher education budget got a $29 million boost from the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. The Senate's version of House Bill 1003 allocates $644.7 million for higher education for 2011-13, compared to the $615.4 ...
BISMARCK -- The state's higher education budget got a $29 million boost from the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.
The Senate's version of House Bill 1003 allocates $644.7 million for higher education for 2011-13, compared to the $615.4 million approved by the House. The governor recommended $648.2 million.
Senate Appropriations restored $6.6 million to limit tuition increases and $10 million for equity funding that the House cut.
The Senate version allows the state Board of Higher Education to transfer $1.8 million of the general fund appropriation from the joint information technology building project to UND's medical school to increase medical school class sizes.
The Senate version nixes $8.2 million for the Old Main project at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. It adds $10.5 million for the Rhoades Science Center at Valley City State University.
The bill also adds $700,000 in one-time funding for Dickinson State University as a result of decreased revenues estimated to be received from oil royalties.
The Senate's version provides North Dakota State University with authority to use previous funding for a Minard Hall project. It also provides revenue bonding authorization for a portion of the University of North Dakota flight operations center project.
The bill requests a legislative study of UND's medical school to review its ability to meet the health care needs of the state. This would include studying the feasibility of expanding the medical school.
Also included is a study of college programs that address workforce needs in the state, including a review of using graduated tuition rates to increase enrollment in these programs.
Appropriations Chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said the Senate's proposal is an 8.7 percent general fund increase from last biennium, or an additional $51 million in general fund money.
The Senate's version of the bill includes $597 million for ongoing expenses and $48 million in one-time funding and major building projects, he said.
Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, tried to add $10.6 million for a Theodore Roosevelt Resource Center at Dickinson State University.
"There's no question that this is going to be a place where people want to come," he said. "It's going to be a destination. It's not only going to be a great benefit to the city of Dickinson and Dickinson State University, but it's going to be a great asset to the state."
His amendment failed on a 5-8 vote.
The budget will now go before the entire Senate for approval. If the House disagrees with the Senate changes, the bill will go to a conference committee where the House and Senate will work out their differences over the budget.
Finneman is a writer for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.