For Immediate Release 23 March 2001
Board of Regents sets Tuition and Fees for 2001-02
BROOKINGSThe Board of Regents, today in its regular business meeting at South Dakota State University, set tuition and fee rates for the university system for the next academic year.
For the 2001-02 academic year tuition rates at all universities for resident undergraduates will be $62.40 per credit hour. Based on 32 credit hours, the total estimated system costs for tuition, required fees, room and board is $6,905, an increase of $328 over the cost of the same items in the current academic year. That is a weighted system average increase of 4.9 percent.
The Regents consider a number of factors when setting tuition and fee rates each year. "Some years ago the Regents adopted a policy of adjusting tuition levels by the inflationary increase in the Higher Education Price Index. The HEPI had provided a useful measure because it looked at the cost of what universities have to buy, such as library journals and test tubes. Other indices, such as the consumer price index, measure the price of groceries and other expenditures of families and households. Those increases do not necessarily reflect what it costs to do business in higher education," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, Aberdeen. "Since HEPI is not currently available, we adopted a slightly lower increase than the average for the past five years."
Inflation is not the only factor to be considered in setting tuition and fees, noted Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "When the Regents set rates for the next year they also have to consider the annual salary policy for state employees that is proposed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature. About 20 percent of all Regents employees are supported by funds that are not appropriated from general funds of state government. Every time the state gives employees a raise or an increase in health insurance, we have to raise tuition and fees to cover the salaries and benefits for our employees who are not paid by state funds," said Perry.
In addition to tuition, which is uniform by category at all state universities, students also pay a variety of fees. The University Support Fee (USF) supports instructional and administrative services. The Regents are in the fourth year of a six-year plan to standardize the USF, so the increases at some institutions are greater than at others as the universities close the gap and achieve the same rate. Unlike the USF, the General Activity Fee, which supports student union buildings and student organizations, reflects campus support for their different functions. Even though the students and institutional presidents recommend an increase, it cannot be charged until they have justified the increase to the satisfaction of the Regents. Other fees set by the Regents include residence hall room rent, meal plans, special fees related to specific majors, and system fees for such things as applications and transcripts.
Fee increases for FY02 include money to continue the plan to raise salaries for faculty and non-faculty exempt employees. "South Dakotas higher education professional employees are among the lowest paid in the nation. Three years ago the Regents adopted a three-year plan to address that quality issue," said Jewett. "This plan has had a real impact on the universities. Presidents have told the Regents that they have the flexibility to recruit new faculty and to reward those on campus who contribute the most to the education of their students. So that we do not lose the ground that we have gained, the Regents have decided to continue the plan by funding it with the increase in fees. Last fall the student federation stated their support for a continuation. The students know that the value of their education depends on the quality of their instructors. They are willing to pay more to ensure that they will receive the best education their money can buy."
In a related matter the Regents adjusted the adjacent state tuition rate, which is charged to students from Nebraska and Iowa. "A few years ago the Regents raised the nonresident tuition rate to approximately three times that of the in-state rate," said Perry. "We have a reciprocity agreement with Minnesota. North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange. So the only students who were affected by the increase were those from Nebraska and Iowa. Enrollment dropped off from those two states. Last year, based on fiscal projections from the universities, the Regents reduced by 25 percent the rate charged to new students from those two states. In January of this year the Board decided to set that rate for new students at the same level as the rate charged students who participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange. We would like to see the students from adjacent states return to our universities. The Regents are hopeful that they will find this rate attractive."
For more information, contact Dr. Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director, or Monte Kramer, Director Finance and Administration, (605) 773-3455.
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