Published March 1, 2007 | March 2007 issue
North Dakota has long been known as having affordable higher education. But a report by an accrediting agency shows that reputation may be in danger.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education released a report late last year comparing universities in its 15-state jurisdiction, which starts at the Dakotas and includes intermountain and West Coast states, along with Alaska and Hawaii.
North Dakota ranked high both in terms of average tuition at its four-year universities and the rate of tuition and fee growth over the past decade. The trend held regardless of whether it was for undergraduate or graduate education or for residents or nonresidents. For example, in each of these four categories, annual tuition and fee rates at North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota increased between 123 and 137 percent from the 1996-97 to 2006-07 school years. In dollars, average tuition and fees at the state's six universities were above the 15-state average for each category, with the exception of undergraduate nonresident.
The state's five two-year colleges had the highest (simple average) tuition and fees among WICHE's 15 states for the current school year.
—Ronald A. Wirtz