sioux falls, sd
Many people spend years after college paying off student loans and in most cases, tuition only gets higher. But that's not the case everywhere.
The University Center in Sioux Falls is about halfway through the first semester of a new pilot program aimed at helping more people get a college education.
It's called the UC Foundation and the South Dakota Board of Regents approved the program earlier this year.
It reduces the cost of a credit for around 30 of the University Center's 100 and 200-level classes by $100. Students say it's making a huge difference.
"It means less debt later in life for the same education so it pays off; it's a double benefit," freshman Kristi Long said.
Long, a Harrisburg native, decided to stay closer to home and still be able to get a degree from South Dakota State University for a much cheaper cost.
"It's definitely a nice benefit of paying like almost half of what they're paying up there. So it’s definitely going to help out in the end," Long said.
University Center Director of Marketing and Communication Jennie Doyen says there was a 13 percent rise in credit hours taken in the courses with the cheaper cost.
"We know adults make decisions the way a consumer makes decisions, based on cost, because they have to. So this program is definitely attractive. It’s definitely a value to students who are making cost based decisions," Doyen said.
Senior Kriss Kuyper says her tuition has dropped around $1,000 to $2,000 from last semester, leaving her extra money for books and most importantly, less in student loans.
"I am worried about it because I’m going to school longer because I’m getting an extra part of my degree. So instead of having just four years to pay off, I'll have at least six. And I don’t want to be 80 and just finally paying all my loans off and getting my money worth out of my schooling," Kuyper said.
The 13 percent increase doesn't necessarily mean there are more students on campus, just that more of the students are taking the reduced-rate credits.