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North Dakota Legacy Fund idea

John Cyr, Fargo

With 6.2 billion in the fund this should be the easiest decision our Legislature can make. My numbers may be off just a little but it makes sense. Put $400 million in an endowment in the bank owned by the state taking 4% in interest per year to fully endow a full 4-year scholarship for all the medical students at UND! Why? Read below!

1. There are 78 medical students per class at UND per year. In state tuition is $31,130 and out state is $57,620 per year so let us take the average of $44,375(lets round up to $50,000 for inflation) per student per year so the per year cost would be $3.9 million per class or $15.6 million for the 4 years of students needed per year. Let’s round up and say they need $16 million per year to fund the free tuition. That’s $400 million X 4% per year with never touching the principle. That gives them $16 million per year without ever really spending the money the state would be giving to the STATE owned bank of North Dakota to handle for the UND medical school.

2. The shortage of family practice, internal medicine, pediatric doctors is well known and only getting worse. We know this in North Dakota especially in the rural areas. 3. What does North Dakota get in return: by accepting the free medical school tuition the student would owe the state 3 years of practice in the state, anywhere in the state! This would give the state an additional revolving 234 new doctors who not only help the state with its need for more doctors but also give us 234 great jobs that pay taxes and help drive our economy.

4. Does this increase the odds that more doctors stay in the state? No one knows for sure but it’s better than sitting on our hands and hoping it gets better. Everyone is looking for ideas for the Legacy fund and this would only take 6.2 percent of the fund.

5. Full disclosure: this idea comes from New York University who is now fully funding free medical school tuition (with no strings attached. Unlike the 3-year commitment to North Dakota that I suggest). The number of applicants has increase substantially as you can imagine.

Theirs is funded by $100 million from the person who started Home Depot and he and some friends raised another $250 million. They have 100 medical students per year and their tuition is also more than at University of North Dakota.

No, I do not have a son or daughter going to medical school soon and I am a graduate of North Dakota State University not the University of North Dakota.

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