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Fifty years later, Tri-College is a regional gem

August 11, 2020 | Bylgnelson| News

It started with an idea to reach across the Red River between Minnesota and North Dakota, creating an initiative to build on the success of the higher education institutions.

In 1970, articles of incorporation established Tri-College University (TCU) as a North Dakota non-profit educational corporation.

Fifty years later, TCU is now five higher education institutions including the original three: Minnesota State Univerity Moorhead (MSUM), Concordia and North Dakota State University (NDSU) along with two tech schools: MState and North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS). The two tech schools were added to TCU in 2015.

So what does this unique collaboration mean for students (and the community)?

The consortium allows students from one university to attend classes at the other four, with no additional tuition or fees. Through TCU, the partner institutions now offer a variety of collaborative programs, courses, and services — the course exchange, free use of library facilities on all campuses, free parking on all campuses (with valid parking pass from home campus), and several cooperative student organizations and events.

“We’ve used the partnership to launch programs where one campus may not have enough critical mass of students or faculty. Case in point was the Educational Leadership program that was started in the 1970 between NDSU and MSUM. They grew the program so eventually they had enough students and faculty for stand-alone programs at each campus a few years back, said Tim Flakoll, TCU Provost.”

To date, students and their families have saved more than $270 million in tuition costs thanks to the partnership.