The North Dakota University System consists of 11 state-supported institutions including two-year, four-year and graduate level colleges and universities. All of the campuses of the North Dakota University System (NDUS) are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of NCA. NDUS institutions share distance education courses that are offered in a variety of formats including Internet, two-way interactive video, correspondence study, one-way video satellite, videotape and audio teleconferencing.
Each of the 11 institutions offer complete degree programs by distance delivery. The degrees include:
- 39 associate degrees,
- 22 baccalaureate degrees,
- Seven graduate programs.
In addition, 28 certificate programs and teaching endorsements are available through distance education.
Since 2001, the North Dakota University System Online (NDUSO) has provided the collaborative protocol for delivering online programs. Enrolled students may designate one of the institutions as the "home" campus and may take courses from the other institutions that offer courses applicable to that degree. The intent of the collaborative model is to provide the student:
- one registration,
- one bill,
- one financial aid package,
- one transcript.
Awarding and the delivery of financial aid are linked to the term. In order for students to receive financial aid for correspondence courses, they have to complete the course by the end of the term in which it is started.
All 11 state institutions utilize a single state computer network (the Higher Education Computer Network). Information is processed and stored in a common information management system in which each institution has secure access to its own student and administrative records. With the PeopleSoft implementation in 2004, each institution will be able to track enrollments at other System schools and to facilitate packaging and delivery of Title IV Student Financial Assistance to students taking distance education courses from schools other than their home institution. Until that time, the process continues to be manual.
All system schools were given six waivers: three related to the 50 percent rule; two that comprised a waiver of the 12-hour rule; and one allowing correspondence students to be considered full-time.
Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives
The focus of the Distance Education Demonstration Project in the North Dakota University System is to experiment with ways of administering aid by enhancing cooperation among NDUS institutions in the delivery of financial aid. This cooperation includes 2+2 programs as well as collaborative degree programs. In the process of implementing these cooperative arrangements, NDUS institutions have identified procedures and policies used in the disbursement of financial aid to distance education students and have developed policies and procedures that enhance collaborative distance programs and the distribution of financial aid.
Additional Goals for Participation
The NDUS has as a high priority to increase access to postsecondary education for place-bound, rural students. In addition, NDUS also focuses on displaced workers in the state to determine their educational needs, to identify current programs at NDUS institutions, and to develop programs in areas of unmet needs.
Demonstration Program Cohort
The North Dakota University system joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 1999 as part of the initial cohort.