As college students return to class this week, some are cashing in on a new program. Earlier this year, the Board of Regents voted to lower tuition for some classes at the University Center in Sioux Falls.
"I save probably $300 to $400 this semester alone," University Center Student Tara Gannon said.
It's the first day of class for Tara Gannon at the University Center in Sioux Falls. This is one of three classes the single mom is taking this semester, and it's coming at a cheaper cost because she’s taking advantage of the University Center's new program known as UC Foundations. It's a tuition reduction program for nearly 30 general education courses.
Executive Dean Mark Lee pushed for the program to allow more students to take advantage of a higher level education.
"UC Foundations was our effort to improve access to higher education for students and individuals in the Sioux Falls Community," University Center Executive Dean Mark Lee said.
So far, it seems to be working. 16 percent more students are taking the courses included in the program.
"By becoming more narrow and more focused in our efforts, we think we can save money and we're planning to pass on the savings to the students," Lee said.
There's a long list of classes, which are $100 per credit hour cheaper that could save a student up to $6,000 on a college degree. Lee hopes the four-year pilot program will continue to grow.
"We do not believe at all this is the peak of the program. In fact, we really do believe we're just getting started," Lee said.
Lee hopes the word gets out and more people get a higher education, just like Gannon.
"It's a good way to budget; not over budget things. It's helping me on that end," Gannon said.
The Board of Regents approved the four-year pilot program last March. It's a first of its kind program in South Dakota. The hope is to attract a larger number and wider variety of students.