Changing names, but not missions with the law exchanging tech institutes for tech colleges

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Technical institutes across South Dakota will be changing their names to fit a new law signed by Governor Kristi Noem, Feb. 25th.

The new law — H.B. 1083 — would align the standards of other technical schools across the country to those in Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Watertown.

At Western Dakota Tech the change means inclusivity for aspiring students.

“Institute just sounds so selective and so niche that it makes people wonder, well, who is an institute appropriate for,” says WDT President Ann Bolman. “Where as the word college is really very, very associated with community college which people understand means open admission.”

Gov. Noem suggested that post-secondary technical schools produce “top quality” graduates.

“Across the country, most of the colleges that used to be called institutes have changed their name to college,” says Bolman. “And when that happened it made people realize that in the college environment, yeah, we are going to be learning some advanced skills.”

The change goes into effect July 1st, 2020.

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