Student fees, autism bills pass

BISMARCK–The North Dakota Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that requires the amount and purpose of student fees at each college to be published on the North Dakota University System’s website.

The bill also limits mandatory fee increases to 1 percent or less relative to tuition without a showing of extraordinary need or student demand. It also provides for a long-term study to address which programs are properly funded through fees and which priorities should be funded by tuition or by other sources.

Sen. Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, called the legislation “a big win for students.”

“It is a solid first step towards getting a handle on this part of the college affordability equation,” he said in a statement. 

Autism

The House unanimously approved a bill allowing the Department of Human Services to use $200,000 to establish and operate a regional autism spectrum disorder centers of early intervention and achievement pilot program.

The bill also requests a study of the current system for the diagnosis, early treatment, care and education of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The study must include a review of a sliding fee scale for payment of services and the value of services provided.

The study must also consider the recommendations of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force and must seek input from stakeholders.

The Senate’s version of the bill included $600,000 for the pilot program. The Senate must now review the House’s changes.

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