UND Attracts Students from Every State

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UND Attracts Students from Every State

by Sean Lee

With its challenging winters, North Dakota isn't always an obvious first pick for students seeking a college or a university, but the facts don't lie: students attend UND from around the country and across the globe.

Whether it’s for the majestic prairies in the west, or for the warmth of the people of the region, North Dakota draws students from every one of the 50 United States regularly. Students come for a world-class education and often discover a great place to stay after graduation.

According to Alex Fashing, a sophomore from El Paso, Texas, “I’m hoping to go into Agricultural Engineering, or Agricultural Systems and Machinery, so I feel like North Dakota may be a good place for me to stay.”

North Dakota’s economic superiority often attracts students, as well as industry to the state of North Dakota, posting the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. It’s also one of the only states in the US to have a budget surplus, and the only state to have a state-owned banking system.

Three students from Las Vegas, Nevada make up a “rat pack” of undergrads. Shane Gerbert, Joe Forti and Dan Villas graduated from the same high school in Las Vegas. “I’d say the weather is as ‘extreme’ here as it is there,” Forti, a senior majoring in Air Traffic Control said. “I mean, if someone from Grand Forks went to Vegas in the summer, they’d say that 120 degrees is too hot.”

With just over 40-percent of the total enrollment of UND coming from in-state, students aren't that surprised when they meet someone from far away.

And not only is North Dakota currently a job hunters paradise, hundreds of out-of-state students enjoy affordable education.

“My high school tuition cost more than what I pay at UND,” said Chandler Mato, a sophomore majoring in commercial aviation. “I just decided to man up and moved to a different state to live on my own.”

Home for Chandler is over 5,000 miles away on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Giving up the warm beaches and sunny afternoons was no easy task for him. “The majority of my friends still live together back at home. I was honored that I was able to move away and be with people from within my career field.”

As part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, students from Hawaii, as well as 14 other western states are eligible for near in-state tuition rates at all 11 public colleges and universities in the state of North Dakota.

For those in other states, tuition in North Dakota is among the most affordable in the world. “Anywhere I would want to escape to, Indiana, for example, is too expensive for me. I would have to pay out of state tuition,” said UND Sophomore Katherine Hurst originally from Pendleton, Indiana, her family relocated to Minnesota.

“Tuition is very affordable here, compared to the east,” said PhD student Tim Logan from Morristown, New Jersey. “If I could become a teacher at any college or university in North Dakota, I would definitely consider staying here.”

With tuition going up in many states, North Dakota maintains a “safe haven” for many out of state students. “It was cheaper for me to come here than to stay in Washington by about $1,000,” said Traci Bentrup from Kennewick, Washington. “Now the difference is over $3,000.”

Bentrup took advantage of the state’s residency laws and became a resident of the North Dakota. Any student living in the state for a full year is eligible to become a North Dakota resident and pay in-state tuition.

“I’m going wherever I can get a job,” Bentrup said. “If I had my choice, I would definitely stay in North Dakota.”

These are only a few of the stories the current student body could share. With so many out of state students, the diversity of opinions around campus make UND an exciting place to live, learn, and work.

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