South Dakota's public universities want to keep more students in school, make sure they get their degrees and make tuition more competitive.
That includes continuing a tuition freeze for in-state students at all six state universities. But the tuition freeze doesn't apply toward classes online or through University Center.
When college students head to class at the end of the month they won't be paying any more for tuition than last year--if they're on the state's six university campuses.
But if they're taking class from those same schools through University Center, they'll be paying about $60 more per credit hour.
"At the campuses, at the universities, they also get state funding--they get state support in addition to the tuition revenue. Here at University Center--at any off site location in the public university system--we exist purely on the tuition revenue that we get," Executive Director of University Center Craig Johnson said.
Online classes are also not included in the tuition freeze and will go up in price. They don't get state money because the policy goes back to the pre-Internet days of correspondence courses that were supposed to pay for themselves. It would cost the state a lot to start subsidizing them now.
"I think most experts would say we are certainly going through a key transition; which many people would even call disruptive," Johnson said.
Johnson says when it comes to choosing the University Center for college classes; cost isn't always the number one factor.
"For every one, yes--money matters--costs matter. What seems to be highest priority is what we offer and when we offer it and how we offer it, it's basically how can they fit college into their life," Johnson said.
University Center will be charging $313 per credit hour in the upcoming school year--but it can't charge fees like the state's six universities. The Board of Regents is also calling for a nearly $2,000 hike in the state's Opportunity Scholarship for students to cover more tuition.