PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The new outside analysis of the economic impact from South Dakota’s public universities cost state government at least $92,549.

The report was released last week by the South Dakota Board of Regents, whose members govern the system of six state universities and two specialty schools.

Heather Forney, the system’s vice president of finance and administration, signed the contract July 6, 2021, with Parker Philips Inc.

Travel expenses were paid separately. Total maximum for the contract was $99,953.

The regents central office received eight proposals, Forney told KELOLAND News on Monday.

The previous report on the universities’ economic impact was released in 2016.

The contract was one of three for professional services that Forney signed in the past year with the Erie, Pennsylvania, company, which describes itself as “a women-owned boutique-consulting firm.”

The others were signed this fall.

One was for $49,000 to analyze and develop the universities’ new marketing for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA.

The third for $15,000 was to complete a website rebrand to serve as the gateway for the current selectdakota.org site that promotes the six public universities and maintain the site for one year.

Those contracts noted that state law doesn’t require a state agency to issue a formal request for proposals on professional contracts for $50,000 or less.

Forney said the contracts were for separate projects.