The South Dakota Board of Regents voted to increase South Dakota public universities’ tuition and fees by 4.4 percent. The vote happened during a BOR meeting April 4 in Aberdeen, S.D.
Regents voted 6-3 to approve the tuition hike, which will go into effect this summer.
BOR system’s Vice President of Finance and Administration Monte Kramer said the increase was necessary because of “cost drivers” like employee salaries, health insurance benefits and inflation.
Kramer said students would also see an increase in rates of living in campus residence halls.
“We feel it’s important that students have good living space,” Kramer said. “It should be a contemporary place for them to study, sleep and live.”
For University of South Dakota students, the tuition increase means students will, on average, pay $8,022 per semester— an increase of $318, or 4.1 percent.
First-year Katie Redden said news of the increase in tuition and fees was disappointing.
“I wanted to live in Coyote Village next year, and now I can’t afford it, because of the tuition increase,” Redden said.
Junior Bethany Hively, who came to Vermillion from her home state of Oregon because of its affordability, said USD’s tuition hike presents difficulties for her because she pays for her own education, primarily through federal loans.
“It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but when you’re paying out of your own pocket it is,” Hively said. “It’s a good quality education for the price, but it’s been going up lately.”
Kramer suggested students concerned about the tuition increase should focus on the “long-term benefits of college.”
“If I were a student, I would think the value of an education is the most important thing,” Kramer said. “Going to college improves your lifetime earnings by $1.6 million. On average, a student will pay $36,000 for a bachelor’s degree. That’s a good return on an investment.”