Regents approve reciprocity change

The Regents passed the alteration for North Dakota residents’ rates.

Jerret Raffety

Tuition for some professional programs is set to increase for the majority of students from North Dakota in fall 2006.

Newly negotiated changes in the tuition reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and North Dakota were passed at a University Board of Regents meeting July 6.

The major changes, negotiated by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, included removing programs in law, medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry from the reciprocity agreement.

Frank Cerra, senior vice president of the Academic Health Center, said the changes in the reciprocity agreement were motivated by decreased funds from the state.

Having North Dakota students pay resident tuition resulted in a loss of approximately $750,000 per year, he said.

Cerra said the decision is good for the University because it will bring in new revenue. Student admissions and applicant pools should remain unchanged as well, he said.

“These are top-shelf programs and are a reasonable price in the marketplace,” he said. “Professional schools are expensive Ö if people wish the professional schools to be top-shelf, the resources need to be there to do that.”

Currently, no North Dakota institution offers programs in dentistry and veterinary medicine.

Special provisions in the revised agreement guarantee the University will reserve up to five slots each year in both programs for new students from North Dakota.

Dr. Patrick Lloyd, School of Dentistry dean, said he doesn’t think the decision will negatively affect admissions numbers or the applicant pool to the Dental School’s professional programs. North Dakota students represent 11 percent of the University’s Dental School.

Instead, Lloyd said, the Dental School should remain very competitive with other dental schools across the country because it has several advantages that other universities do not – such as an Academic Health Center and access to a diverse pool of health professionals because of its location in a large city.

The new tuition revenue should free up funds for new faculty members and upgrades in facilities and should stabilize tuition increases that have driven tuition up by 12 percent during the last five years, Lloyd said.

The decision does put some added pressure on the Dental School to find new ways to serve the state of North Dakota, Lloyd said. For example, he said, the school hopes to create new outreach programs that encourage dental graduates from North Dakota to return to their state to help curtail a shortage of dentists there.

Jeffrey Klausner, College of Veterinary Medicine dean, said the decision will have a small impact on his college. During the last five years, the college has had 19 students from North Dakota in its professional program.

He said he does not think the college will lose many students to universities in neighboring states.

“I’m not going to say that cost isn’t a factor, but I don’t think it’s the ultimate factor for veterinary medicine,” Klausner said. “I think we’ll still get great students from North Dakota, and they will graduate and have a great impact on the health of animals and people.”

Jonathan Williams, a second-year doctor of medicine candidate in the University’s Medical School from Fargo, N.D., said he thinks the decision will make the University less attractive to out-of-state residents. He said that if there had been no reciprocity in place, he would not have been attracted to the Medical School.

“One would hope that there would be a greater spirit of community – many of these states in the upper Midwest depend on each other economically and socially,” he said. “The University wants to establish itself as a regional, national and global university, and by limiting the pool of applicants, they’re hindering their ability to do so.”

Peter Zetterberg, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting, said the decision affects fewer than 100 students. Approval to implement the change in Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is still pending but will most likely pass, he said.