SIOUX FALLS, SD -
It seems like everything costs a little more these days, and that's true for secondary education. While tuition has been on the rise in recent years, a new study shows that the increases have slowed on private college campuses. The national study shows that on average tuition is up 3.9 percent this year for private four-year schools.
One-quarter of students working on a four-year college degree attend a private college. And at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, they're paying 4.25 percent more than last year, which is slightly higher than average.
"I just keep telling myself that this education is going to more than pay for itself in the long run," Kadyn Wittman said.
Wittman is a senior at Augustana, where tuition and other fees now total more than $34,000 per year. Like Wittman, Kristin Payne is looking forward to graduating in just a few months.
"I feel like I do get a lot of bang for my buck. But personally, I feel like the increase since I was a freshman has been almost $6,000 and I feel like that's a little expensive," Payne said.
The study also notes that most private schools offer more in scholarship money to their students. Augustana students say that is certainly the case here.
"Financially it made the most sense for me personally because of the scholarships they offered. I know at Augustana more than 90 percent of the students receive financial aid of some kind," Wittman said.
Wittman and Payne both say about half of their expenses are covered by scholarships. That's why they both agree that the cost of their education at a private school is still worth the cost.
"As you go through college it is inevitable that the cost is going to rise. That is just a fact of education and of life for the way our economy is right now," Wittman said.
"I think it is a great education and a great value for the dollar that you're going to pay. You just have to be prepared to pay that when you come and not be upset about it when it does go up," Payne said.
In comparison, state colleges and universities in South Dakota had a tuition increase of 6.5 percent for this school year. The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet this week starting Tuesday on the University of South Dakota campus.
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