Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Minnesota residents planning to enroll in North Dakota's professional schools of pharmacy, medicine and law will no longer be eligible for reduced tuition under the reciprocity agreement between the two states, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. The agency recently negotiated a change to the agreement eliminating reciprocity for new students pursuing professional degrees in either state.
"We greatly value our partnership with North Dakota and are cautious about any changes that may limit opportunities for students," said Susan Heegaard, director of the Office of Higher Education, which is the state agency responsible for negotiating the change. "Periodically, circumstances change and we need to make alterations on the margins to keep the larger agreement strong."
The change applies to new students entering programs in fall 2006 and thereafter and affects a small number of students compared with the more than 13,000 reciprocity students currently attending public institutions in both states who will not be affected by the change. Students in programs covered by the agreement generally pay either the resident tuition rate at the public institution they attend or the resident tuition rate at a comparable institution in their home state, whichever is higher. Reciprocity students are also held to the same admissions criteria as resident students.
Last year 160 Minnesota residents attended North Dakota's professional programs while 94 North Dakota residents attended professional programs in Minnesota. Specifically removed from the agreement are programs in law and medicine at the University of North Dakota; pharmacy at North Dakota State University; and law, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, medicine and dentistry at the University of Minnesota. Students currently enrolled in these programs and covered by reciprocity will continue to be charged the reciprocity tuition rate through the completion of their program.
Because North Dakota has neither a school of dentistry nor a school of veterinary medicine, the agreement requires the University of Minnesota to reserve five slots for qualified North Dakota students in its veterinary medicine program and ten slots for new entering students in its dentistry program each year. North Dakota students admitted into these slots will pay 75 percent of the non-resident tuition rate.
The governing boards of Minnesota's two public higher education systems must approve changes to all statewide tuition reciprocity agreements. The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents approved the new agreement in July. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees signed off this week.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a state agency providing students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. The agency negotiates and oversees statewide tuition reciprocity agreements with North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Manitoba.
(Update November 23, 2005: Professional programs in either state may choose to voluntarily discount tuition for non-resident students at any time.)
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