North Dakota in the news
This table, also in USA Today, shows that UND's in-state tuition and fees is right near the median or the halfway point among "75 public flagship universities in 50 states," as the table puts it. Hmm ... I would have expected the university t0 rank closer to the low end of the scale; my guess is, the "low end" was where it ranked throughout the 1990s and earlier. If that's the case, then the university still is a bargain, but measurably less of a bargain than it used to be.
The last and most important item that Gjovig forwarded is a column in today's Wall Street Journal that describes North Dakota in extremely flattering terms ... in fact, it may be the most upbeat article about the state's prospects to appear before a national audience in decades.
I can't link to the column, because it's behind the Journal's subscriber-only firewall. (But I will watch the newspaper's free site, opinionjournal.com, for a few days to see if the column appears there, and will provide the link if it does.) But here are a few telling quotes:
Headline: The Great Plains
By JOEL KOTKIN
"BISMARCK, N.D. -- At a time when the much-celebrated coasts creak from rising interest rates, faltering income levels and soaring energy prices, this windswept, energy-rich city of 57,000 on the western edge of the Dakota plains is experiencing the best of times. Cities like this one out in the far-off hinterland -- Iowa City, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Grand Forks, Rapid City -- now are enjoying job growth rates that, if they don't rival Las Vegas, certainly put to shame those of most major metropolitan areas. Unemployment is negligible and wages are rising across virtually all job categories. ...
"Behind the good times are numerous factors, such as an Internet-enabled shift of technology and business service firms into the region, and a growing migration of downshifting boomers and young families. But perhaps the most dramatic change has come from an upsurge of energy prices that is turning places like North Dakota into a Nordic Abu Dhabi. ...
"The portraits of a dying region are increasingly dated; last year North Dakota gained population while Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia all lost people. More to the point, although some parts of the Plains, particularly small towns, continue to lose people, others are enjoying growth in jobs, population and income -- in many cases more so than parts of urban, coastal America. ...
"This resurgence has its basis in some often underestimated assets that are reasserting themselves in the Great Plains. ... (including) such often underestimated factors like good schools, reasonable housing prices (the median home price is under $150,000), short commutes, the nation's lowest crime rate and ample outdoor recreation."
So, North Dakotans, how does it feel to be living in Boomtown USA?