House seeks S.D. universities efficiency study

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Board of Regents should search for ways to lower tuition for students attending South Dakota’s public universities, the state House of Representatives decided Monday.

The current version of SB 55 would require the task force to report back to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations and the governor no later than November 15, 2021.

The bill now returns to the Senate for possible agreement.

Representative Hugh Bartels, a Watertown Republican, said it was time for the regents to “dust off” some old studies. He said they would have “free rein.”

The bill requires four legislators from the appropriations committee to serve on the panel.

The legislation grew from a proposal from Senator Ryan Maher, an Isabel Republican, seeking a shared administration of Black Hills State University in Spearfish and South Dakota School of Mines and Engineering in Rapid City.

House members meanwhile rejected the House Appropriations Committee’s version of SB 144 that would have increased the cost for a high school student to take a state-university course.

The vote was 32 in favor and 35 against raising the student’s cost to 50 percent from the current 33.3 percent. State government pays the remainder for the dual credit either way.

Representative Doug Post, a Volga Republican, said the change would save state government about $1 million per year that could be used for other purposes.

Representative Chris Karr, a Sioux Falls Republican who chairs the House committee, said a student currently pays about $48 per credit hour and would pay $72.50 per if the change became law.

“I can’t even fill my truck with gasoline for $72,” Karr said.

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