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Some Worried About Possible Tuition Increases

April 2, 2010, 10:13 PM by Katie Janssen

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Budget cuts to the South Dakota Board of Regents could mean a tuition increase at the six public universities. Regents plan to announce a decision in less than two weeks, but until then, college students say an increase could prompt them to look elsewhere for higher education.

Twenty-six year old Angela Shelafoe is studying for degrees in chemical dependency, social work, and psychology at Kilian Community College. It's a lot of work, and she's paying for her private school education mostly on her own.

"There's already limited funding for someone like me who has no children, who's of working age. They don't offer a whole lot," said Shelafoe.

She's a little nervous for what's to come, too, after hearing about possible tuition increases at state schools.

Even though Shelafoe's a student at Kilian now, she's looking to complete her degree at a state-run university, and now those plans may be changing.

"I come from a low-income family, we were financially challenged growing up, and now I'm struggling to make it the way it is,” Shelafoe said. “This may make me reconsider going to a state school."

Kilian's president Mark Millage says the community college may see more students if a tuition increase is substantial enough. He says many times at private schools, students can get more money in scholarships and grants, and fees are often lower.

"They'll see sometimes the fees can be higher than tuition because there is so much involved," Millage said.

Shelafoe says if there is a tuition hike, she's hoping it's affordable. If not, students may shy away.

"You're not going to scare off the people who have the means to go to school, you're going to scare off people like me who didn't have that opportunity," said Shelafoe.

Tuition at state schools goes up a little every year based on inflation, but the Board of Regents is considering an increase higher than planned.

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