Like many other public colleges and universities across the country, South Dakota public universities will experience a tuition increase this summer. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved a tuition rate hike of 4.4 percent at an early April Board of Regents meeting that took place in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Students will find that their bills will be higher for the summer semester, as that is when the tuition increase is set to take effect. The increase was approved by a vote of 6-3.
According to The Volante, the student newspaper at The University of South Dakota, the rate hike was necessary because of the rising costs of employment at the university and the rate of inflation in the country. Monte Kramer, the Board of Regent system's vice president of finance and administration, said the tuition increase was a result of the cost of employee salaries and increasing costs for health benefits. The tuition increase goes hand-in-hand with increases in rates for campus living options. The universities across the state emphasize state-of-the-art living facilities and want to keep them contemporary and comfortable for students. This comes at a cost, and a rate increase was necessary to keep the residential facilities in their best shape.
As the second largest university in the state, the University of South Dakota tuition rate increase will impact a lot of students throughout the state. On average, students will find that they will be paying just more than $300 in tuition costs each semester — bringing the average semester total to about $8,000. Students across the campus are frustrated, as the rising cost of education can make it extremely difficult to continue a college education. While students went on the record saying they appreciate the fact that a college education is an investment in their future, the fact that tuition costs keep rising make it difficult for them to manage other financial needs such as food and housing.
However, students throughout South Dakota are breathing a sigh of relief because the rate hike actually had the potential to be higher than 4.4 percent. According to the South Dakota State University student newspaper The Collegian, the state legislature in South Dakota allocated funds to help fill a deficit left in the health insurance pool for the current fiscal year. If this move had not been made, students would have had to shell out even more cash for tuition each semester in order to off-set the rising cost of health care for university employees.
These changes are affecting all of the public universities throughout the state of South Dakota. At South Dakota State University, the state's largest university, prices will go up not only for tuition but also for campus dining and living options. Each of the six universities in the Board of Regents system will have to raise their rates in order to off-set the rising costs of operating a public university in the United States. It's a move that is frustrating for students, but seemingly unavoidable for academic officials.