Proposal has students paying more to attend South Dakota public universities this fall

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The group that governs South Dakota’s public universities is looking at charging more for students to take classes this fall.

Tuition and fees will be one of the decisions facing the state Board of Regents during a day-long teleconference set for Wednesday, April 1.

The meeting officially starts at 9 a.m. CT, but the public business portion including the tuition and fees proposal begins at 1 p.m. CT.

The regents originally planned to meet in person for two days next week in Aberdeen, but changed to the teleconference because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed prices cover the wide mix of students who attend one of the six traditional campuses in Brookings, Vermillion, Madison, Aberdeen, Rapid City, and Spearfish, and the centers in Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

The example the regents have used for years is an undergraduate resident student taking 30 credits over two semesters. The changes would range from a $169 reduction at Black Hills State University, to an increase of $262.50 at South Dakota State University.

The costs for a similar undergrad also would go up at the four other main campuses:

  • $169.50 more at Northern State University;
  • $177 more at Dakota State University;
  • $178.50 more at University of South Dakota; and
  • $189 more at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

The regents meeting comes two days after the Legislature holds its final day of the 2020 regular session.

That makes the tuition and fees decision unpredictable, because the COVID-19 coronavirus is grinding away on South Dakota’s economy.

Heather Forney, the regents vice president of finance and administration, said the decision on Wednesday depends on what lawmakers do on Monday.

“Less than half of the salary policy approved by the Legislature is covered by state general funds, thus we must adjust our other funding sources, like tuition and fees,  to cover the remainder,” Forney said.

“The proposal included in the board agenda assumes a two-percent salary policy, and (an) increase to health insurance benefits of $738 per benefit eligible employee.  In the event those numbers change on veto day, a revised tuition proposal will be submitted to the board at their meeting on April 1,” she said.

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