ND tries to fix troubled campus information system

Upgrade would cost $9.5 million, including new staffing, but students balk at notion of more fees to pay for fixing what is regarded as an IT fiasco.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has voted the increase spending to upgrade troubled software that connects North Dakota's college campuses, reports the Associated Press.

After drawing complaints from users, the ConnectND software system is going to get a $9.5 million facelift, consisting of 11.5 new positions, as well as technical and security upgrades.

The state Board of Higher Education voted to adopt the recommendations Thursday "subject to the money being available." According to Bonnie Neas, the executive director for ConnectND All but $3 million for the upgrades could be found in Gov. John Hoeven's budget recommendation.

Currently, student fees pay for the software system. But the system, users say, is not easy to use and leaves personal information stored in college databases at risk of being breached. New hires are essential to the upgrades, Neas said. "Without them, the rest will be very hard to accomplish. Neas and Randall Thursby, a former chief information officer for Georgia's university system, were hired to facilitate the upgrade.

"We have to do everything possible to implement this," Dickinson State University President Lee Vickers said in an interview.

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