Difficult, challenging, and unfortunate.
That’s how the president of Minot State University describes the financial situation facing universities statewide.
Earlier this week Governor Doug Burgum recommended further cuts to higher education budgets across North Dakota – to the tune of about five percent. That brings the total reduction to about 20 percent in the upcoming biennium.
President Steven Shirley says Minot State University will need to reduce its budget by about 9 million dollars – a reduction that Shirley says will have a significant impact on the school.
(Dr. Steven Shirley, President – Minot State University) “We’re at a point where really, everything has to be on the table now. So we’re gonna have to start looking at some bigger picture items and programs and so forth – and of course, personnel make up programs as well.”
So far, MSU has cut about 30 positions ahead of the next biennium, which begins this July.
Many of those cuts have been vacant positions left open or incentivized early retirements – others are simply losing their jobs after the school year.
Shirley says those decisions haven’t been easy to make.
(Shirley) “There’s people involved. There’s people’s lives and families and careers, and those are very very difficult processes to be a part of.”
Governor Burgum’s recommended cuts won’t be finalized until a higher education bill passes through the state legislature.