Tuition, fee rates increase 2.9 percent for South Dakota public universities

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SPEARFISH, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents Thursday approved tuition and mandatory fees for the upcoming academic year. The impact to students in the public university system is an average cost increase of $237.81 per year, or 2.9 percent.

“While we had requested additional state funds to buy down tuition in the regents’ budget request last fall, state revenue was not available to make that happen for the coming year,” said Regents President Randy Schaefer.

Schaefer said the Board of Regents was fortunate to be able to hold the line on resident state-supported tuition rates in 2014 and 2016, when additional state general funds were appropriated by the Legislature.

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Regents’ officials said there was minimal impact from traditional cost drivers, such as salary policy and inflation, in this year’s tuition setting process. Health insurance increases for state employees, which include all Board of Regents’ employees, and inflation accounted for 0.5 percent of the tuition increase.

Student-driven requests for new or enhanced local programming on campus accounted for the remainder of the increase. Requests for General Activity Fee increases beyond inflation, recommended by student leadership, were submitted from Black Hills State University, Northern State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of South Dakota. The General Activity Fee supports various facilities, services, and student activities on campus.

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“Student activities have a direct impact on the quality of the higher education experience and improve student retention,” said Mike Rush, the regents’ executive director and CEO. “These activities contribute to students completing their degrees, which is the most powerful way to reduce overall costs.”

On average, an in-state undergraduate student taking 30 credit hours next year will pay $8,555.32 for tuition and the mandatory activity fee. These new rates are effective for the 2017-18 academic year that begins this summer.

Tuition rates were held flat for the 2016-2017 academic year after Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Legislature funded a tuition freeze for resident university students.

Lawmakers this session dealt with lower-than-expected state revenues that resulted in budget cuts for the universities.

Information from the South Dakota Board of Regents

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