Author Topic: ND Chancellor Goetz wants to "boost college affordability"  (Read 1495 times)

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Offline Sal Atticum

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ND Chancellor Goetz wants to "boost college affordability"
« on: October 12, 2008, 10:45:57 am »
N.D. University System Chancellor Bill Goetz, Bismarck, column: N.D. should boost college affordability
Bill Goetz, Grand Forks Herald
Published Saturday, October 11, 2008
BISMARCK — Two of the most important issues facing those who wish to pursue some form of education beyond high school are cost and affordability. I believe it is imperative to deal with these challenges with a sense of urgency during the 2009 legislative session.

Today’s student enrollment is very diversified; so, too, are students’ financial needs. Recent high school graduates and individuals returning to college to complete their degrees, attain technical training or upgrade their profession skills — all bring different financial needs.

The increased cost of education results in larger student loans, more time to complete educational goals, rising numbers of students who drop out, limitations on career choice and the financial burdens imposed by repaying loans.

This issue of college affordability can be attributed to several decades of increased costs, at a time when federal and state financial aid have not kept pace. The funding gap explains how additional financial responsibility has been placed on students, resulting in higher tuition costs and re-prioritization of campus needs.

More than 75 percent of North Dakota students apply for financial aid. While the majority get some aid, more and more of that help is in the form of loans, rather than scholarships and grants.

For example, between 1989-90 and 2006-07, the percentage of North Dakota University System students who took out student loans went up from 42 percent to 77 percent at the community colleges, 56 percent to 77 percent at the four-year universities and 39 percent to 77 percent at the research universities. Students and families also take on lots of nonfederally insured debt, such as that incurred through personal loans and credit cards.

What sets North Dakota apart from the rest of the nation is its state-owned Bank of North Dakota, which counsels students and families about college financial aid. BND has been a valued partner in making higher education possible for generations of North Dakotans.

Since 1967, the bank has helped more than 185,000 people pursue higher education. Last year alone, BND made nearly 60,000 federally insured student loans, totaling more than $142 million.

Through one-on-one interaction and exceptional Web site resources, BND works to ensure that college education remains affordable for North Dakotans. In spite of a global financial crisis, the resources of BND will continue to be available to those who wish to pursue their educational goals.

North Dakota University System officials understand the seriousness of this situation. In response, the State Board of Higher Education approved a 2009-11 budget request that includes an increase of about $14 million in funding for needs-based financial aid grants.

If fully funded, the 2009-11 budget request also limits four-year university tuition increases to no more than 4 percent per year and holds community college tuition rates at the current 2008-09 levels for two years. By limiting tuition increases, our state institutions are making a strong commitment to improving affordability.

Along with the issue of affordability come certain responsibilities for the system and the total educational community. It is imperative that accountability to the public is maintained and, where needed, improved upon. That means the colleges and universities must work together as partners in offering programs that meet the needs and expectations of the public.

The system must be ready to respond adeptly to the changing priorities of the state and the private sector.

Finally, we need to recognize the importance of student preparation for education beyond high school. Students who are well prepared will be a factor in reducing potential education costs.

College affordability is likely to be a key policy discussion when the Legislature convenes in January 2009. The dialogue and responsible policies that will evolve can make for a stronger North Dakota and, most of all, a brighter future for all.

Goetz is chancellor of the North Dakota University System.

Offline pmp6nl

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Re: ND Chancellor Goetz wants to "boost college affordability"
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 06:04:31 pm »
Lets be hopeful, but not hold our breath.

Higher Education really needs some help in North Dakota.


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