NDUS highlights 2023 higher education achievements

NDUS highlights 2023 higher education achievements

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota University System (NDUS) identified several program successes and significant achievements during a 2023 year-in-review report to Legislative Management and the Governor’s Office. With collaboration between its 11 institutions, private industry and the 68th Legislative Assembly, NDUS advanced opportunities for student success, welcoming more than 40,000 students across its campuses. A record number of 5,240 high school students also enrolled in NDUS college courses for the Fall 2023 semester.

“A college degree or some form of post-secondary education or certificate continues to be a valuable investment for students in our state. In fact, a Georgetown University report indicates that in less than 10 years, 72 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require postsecondary education or training,” said NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott. “Through our ‘Envision 2035’ strategic planning effort, our State Board of Higher Education, along with industry, workforce, and NDUS leaders are determining the best ways to teach and prepare our students for future success in their careers.” (Link to the report: https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/Projections2031-National-Report.pdf)

Future Focused

In November, representatives from higher education, business and industry and other workforce partners met for the Envision 2035 summit in Bismarck. While there, nine study groups reported initial findings of what the future holds. The digitization of society and the rise of artificial intelligence dominated the findings across all nine study groups. The study groups include: Programs of the Future for Agriculture, Energy, Digitization and Healthcare, as well as Student, Teacher, Infrastructure, Human Capital Workforce and Values of the Future.

Some of the priorities for Envision 2035 have already been addressed, particularly with the creation of the NDUS Dakota Digital Academy (DDA). The DDA was designed to provide one-stop access to digital-cyber oriented education, training, certificates, and knowledge produced by a collaboration between the eleven NDUS campuses, in partnership with select business and corporate partners.

In a draft summary, the DDA reported that 69 cyber science programs are currently being offered among NDUS institutions with more being added next year. In 2022, six institutions began offering 15 online cyber science courses applicable to a certificate or degree. The certificates and stackable credentials help students enhance and further their skillsets and learning outcomes. Some examples of these certificates include cybersecurity and software development.

The DDA also offers $5,000 grants to NDUS faculty to create online courses in cyber technology. In the last funding round, 46 grants were awarded.

Student Affordability

The Career Builders Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program continues to be an effective tool for filling skilled-workforce positions. The program helps businesses to attract and retain talent in high-need and emerging occupations in the state. The program is unique in that it is a dollar-for-dollar matching program whereby the state will contribute $1 for every $1 of private-sector matching dollars received for a recipient.

In 2023, 113 Career Builders scholarships were awarded and 111 loan repayments are active. The private sector, with a state match, has committed $2.4 million in scholarships in 2023, while $1.9 million was committed to loan repayments. There were 115 unique donors for scholarships and 42 for loan repayments. Since 2022, there has been a 40% increase in recipients and a 30% increase in private donors through the Career Builders program.

Students also have been able to access financial aid through North Dakota’s scholarship programs, which include the Academic Scholarship, Career and Technical Education Scholarship and the new North Dakota Scholarship. These are state merit-based awards aimed at increasing high school rigor and retaining students within North Dakota for postsecondary education. High school students can receive up to $6,000 under one of these scholarship programs by completing specific high school courses and meeting grade point average and test score requirements.

Since 2010, 23,460 North Dakota students have qualified for one of the three state scholarships. receiving over $81.2 million in scholarship grants.

Other NDUS achievements include:

  • Secured $5.5. million in legislative support to fund Economic Diversification Research systemwide.
  • Secured $2.79 million in legislative support to increase mental health initiatives on all 11 campuses.
  • Added 40 new academic programs at NDUS institutions.
  • Created 294 new, in-demand certificate programs over the past three years.
  • Implemented the Dual Credit Tuition Scholarship Program, providing awards to more than 2,100 high school students.
  • Approved 135 military courses in fulfillment of general education requirements in transfer.
  • Established the exchange of college transcripts amongst NDUS institutions at no cost to students.