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December 10, 2011 06:00 PM

Students React To Proposed Higher Ed Increase

Brookings, SD

Higher education in South Dakota could receive millions more in state funding next budget year.

After a steep tuition hike last year, students hope that means they can keep more money in their wallets.

The Board of Regents could expect more than $7 million more in state funding next budget year to help pay for higher education in South Dakota. The proposed increase comes one year after budget cuts forced the Regents to increase tuition by nearly seven percent.

Students at South Dakota State University hope that won't happen again.

"If I have to pay less, that's always a plus," freshman Alyssa Lothrop said. "School is expensive so if there is ever a chance to pay less, it is going to make everyone happy."

"Lowering it any amount is better than nothing," junior Dillon Bales said.

"It is hard to pay for college anyway and have a job through college," freshman Molli Jo Michalski said.

Last year, there was a $14.7 million cut to higher education, which trickled down to student's tuition. An average undergraduate pays $500 more this year.

"I am here to go to school so I understand I have to pay it," Lothrop said. "But I've been applying for scholarships. I've got quite a few scholarships so that is going to help out a lot."

And even if the cost of college isn't lower next year, Bales said the high cost of higher education is worth it.

"Education is everything nowadays and if you don't have an education, I am not saying you won't do well, but your percentage drops. It's bad," Bales said.

While state funding for higher education will be higher than last budget year, it is still nearly $7.5 million less than in 2010.

At this point, this budget is only a proposal from the governor. Lawmakers will finalize it during the upcoming session.
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