North Dakota University System officials are requesting an additional $84 million of state funding for the next two years, an increase Chancellor Hamid Shirvani said is needed to keep up with increasing costs and to support the “big agenda” of the system and the state’s 11 public colleges and universities.
If approved by legislators during the session that begins Jan. 8, the additional funding would bring general fund spending for the NDUS operational budget to nearly $600 million — a 16.3 percent increase compared with the $516 million of higher education funding for the current biennium that ends June 30.
The proposal also requests $146 million in capital expenditures to support 14 campus construction projects. The proposal includes $38.5 million for the first phase of a proposed new building for the UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences and $30 million for a new classroom and laboratory building at North Dakota State University.
Shirvani said the state has made strides in funding its institutions in recent years. Still, he said more investment is needed to bring UND and NDSU to the next level while increasing workforce development at the two-year schools and improving the overall quality and outcomes of higher education.