Trusts & Funds

The Board manages trust assets to ensure they maintain their integrity and those funds have grown markedly supporting beneficiaries and designated purposes. Fund balances have grown based on a combination of market based rents paid by farmers and ranchers, consistent investment returns, and robust production of trust and sovereign minerals. Mineral royalty income, agricultural rents, and easement revenues are invested to provide income and trust growth that will benefit education now and for future generations. The Board, with guidance from the Department of Trust Lands, manage 13 permanent education trusts:

  • Common Schools
  • North Dakota State University
  • School for the Blind
  • School for the Deaf
  • State Hospital
  • Ellendale State College*
  • Valley City State University
  • Mayville State University
  • Youth Correctional Center
  • State College of Science
  • School of Mines (UND)
  • Veterans Home
  • University of North Dakota

* Dickinson State University, Minot State University, Dakota College at Bottineau, Veterans Home, School for the Blind, State Hospital, and the State College of Science are current beneficiaries of this trust.

Distributions from the Common Schools Trust Fund (CSTF) are based upon the growth in value of the trusts’ financial assets over time, rather than on the amount of interest and income earned by each trust during the year. Biennial distributions from the permanent trust funds must be 10% of the five-year average value of trust assets, excluding the value of lands and minerals. Equal amounts are distributed during each year of the biennium.  With the substantial growth in trust assets over the past 10 years, distributions to beneficiaries have significantly increased.

The per pupil distributions to K-12 education have increased from approximately $400 per pupil per year during the 2009-11 biennium to a projected $1,592 per student during the 2019-21 biennium.  During that same period of time, distributions from the CSTF grew from approximately 4.0% of the cost of education to a projected 13.9% of the cost of education. With the inclusion of the 2019-21 contribution, the CSTF will have supplied nearly $1 billion ($991,480,000) to public schools in the last eight years.

  Amount CS % of Cost CS $/Pupil
Biennium Distributed of Education Distribution
2009-11  $77,178,000 4.0% $400.96
2011-13  $92,514,000 4.5% $461.33
2013-15  $130,326,000 6.0% $643.27
2015-17  $206,134,000 8.6% $971.69
2017-19  $288,264,000 11.5% $1,318.88
2019-21  $366,756,000 13.9% $1,592.35

In addition, Department employees oversee management of the following funds: