This morning I was flipping through our local newspaper’s website as I was preparing for my radio show and I found an article informing the reader that the University of North Dakota was going to be releasing more information about the 5 million dollar shortfall facing the school this year.

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The claim from the school’s budget office suggests the financial woes are due to a requested 3.7 percent tuition increase falling on deaf ears at the state legislature.  Which capped the increase at 2.5 percent.  UND Vice President of Finance and Operations, Alice Brekke, says this has forced the university to have to find new ways of increasing revenues and cutting costs.  However, this may not be as difficult as she thinks.

I found a very simple solution with minimal effort and investigation and since it is apparent that our academics and university administration don’t have a solid grasp on the basics of economics, I offer this solution to the university at no charge or consultancy fee.

According to the numbers reported by the North Dakota University System (NDUS), in 2014 the total expenditure for UND employee salaries was $289.2 million.  Doing some simple math one can figure the average salary of the 4325 employees at UND is just barely south of $67,000 annually.  Now, considering that according to 2014 numbers the med school chairman’s salary was nearly a half a million annually and the average full professor earned $118,221 with a few earning over $2ook one can surmise that many employees (part-timers and student employees etc) earn far less than the $67k average.  That’s just how averages work.

However, again using very simple math, which you learned long before you ever made it to college algebra at UND, you can figure out how much it would take to make up the $5m shortfall.  First you take the 5 million dollars and divide it up among the 4325 employees.  You will find that this works out to about $1156.07 (give or take a fraction of  a penny).  Then if you divide that number by 52 weeks a year at 40 hours per week you arrive at a mere $0.55 per hour pay cut to every employee at UND.

But hold on there,  some of those employees are students possibly making less than 10 bucks an hour.  We shouldn’t cut those employees pay you say, and I agree.  So here is my proposal.

We take the top 1000 of the highest paid employees salary and we cut it by $2.50 per hour.  Which would instantly give us a budget surplus of $200,000.  Now this may seem harsh but let me give you a little perspective.  For the chairman of the medical school, he would have to try to eek out a living on a measly $225.30 per hour instead of the $227.80 he is earning now.  For the average full professor they would have to do their best to survive on a mere $54.30 an hour instead of the $56.80 we are currently paying them.  Somehow I think they just might be able to survive.

So with the budget problem solved for this year, VP Brekke now has an entire year to learn how to do her job and work on the rest of the budget problems to solve this issue long-term.  This is not a difficult problem to solve and expecting the students of UND and the taxpayers to subsidize the funding shortfall is immoral.  Not only is it immoral, for most of the liberal-minded academics who regularly rail against income inequality it’s quite honestly one of the most hypocritical things I’ve ever heard.  So I’m sorry if I just can’t bring myself to sympathize with them as I write out another check out of my restricted budget to help pay my daughter’s tuition and my taxes, both of which end up in their pockets.

brad.schmidt@bradschmidt.netUND
This morning I was flipping through our local newspaper's website as I was preparing for my radio show and I found an article informing the reader that the University of North Dakota was going to be releasing more information about the 5 million dollar shortfall facing the school this...