For 19 March

Board of Regents sets Tuition and Fee Rates for 1999-2000

MADISON—The Board of Regents, meeting today at Dakota State University, set tuition and fee rates for the university system for the next academic year. The Board also adopted a single off-campus tuition and fee structure.

For the 1999-2000 academic year tuition rates at all universities for resident undergraduates will be $58.35 per credit hour. Based on 32 credit hours, the total estimated system costs for tuition, required fees, room and board is $6,173, an increase of $331 over the cost of the same items in the current academic year.

"In a survey of student costs in surrounding states, the Regents found that in 1998-99 the average resident student in South Dakota still pays less than a resident student in neighboring states," said Regents President James O. Hansen. "On average our students paid over $300 less for tuition, fees, room and board than resident students in surrounding states. We expect that the 1999-2000 costs will be comparable. South Dakota public higher education offers students quality education at a better price than they will get anywhere else."

The Regents consider a number of factors when setting tuition and fee rates each year. "The Regents adopted a policy a few years ago to gauge tuition and fee increases by the annual increase in the Higher Education Price Index. This measures costs associated with higher education and is a more appropriate gauge of the annual inflation than other prices indexes, such as the Consumer Price Index," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.

Hansen added, "When we set tuition and fees, we also have to consider the annual salary policy for state employees that is proposed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature. About twenty percent of all Regents’ employees are supported by funds that are not appropriated from general funds of state government. Every time the state gives its 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."

In addition to matching salary increases for state employees, tuition and fee increases included money for the second year of a salary plan to raise salaries for faculty and non-faculty exempt employees. "South Dakota’s higher education professional employees are among the lowest paid in the nation. Last year we adopted a three-year plan to address that quality issue. The student federation supported that plan because they know that the quality of their education is determined in large part by the faculty," said Perry.

Bonding represents the Dakota State University wellness center project and the roof on the DakotaDome at the University of South Dakota. Inflation in operations and maintenance represents increases in utilities, library acquisitions, and other non-personnel costs to operate the universities. The Regents are standardizing the university support fee, which is used to fund instructional support, academic equipment, computer access, and academic technology. "Regents believe that every student should have the same level of instructional support available to them, regardless of the institution they attend. A couple of years ago they decided to move incrementally all campuses to the same university support fee," said Perry. "The general activity fee reflects the student projects on each campus and varies among them, but the USF should be the same at each campus, just like tuition."

The weighted system average increases for costs for FY00 break down as:

Cost Drivers Annual $ Increase % of the Increase
Salary Policy/Health Insurance $175.51 53.0%
Year 2 of Salary Competitiveness Plan $100.80 30.4%
Bonding on Facilities $ 11.84 3.6%
Operations/Maintenance Inflation $ 28.14 8.5%
Standardization of University Support Fee $ 15.04 4.5%
TOTAL $331.33 100.0%

Hansen added that higher education is an investment, both for the individual and for the state. According to the South Dakota Labor Market Information Center, a worker in South Dakota with only on-the-job training earned about $17,300 in 1998, while a worker with a bachelor’s degree and no experience earned $33,150. "Students and their families should view higher education as preparation to participate fully in the country’s economy," said Hansen.

In a related matter, the Regents took steps to simplify tuition and fees, charged in courses the universities offer at off-campus sites around the state. "The Regents took a hard look at the different rates that have been charged at off-campus sites and decided that it was time to standardize them. After the Board changed the way it distributes money to the universities last year, it decided to set tuition and fees for off-campus courses so that the universities would just recover the marginal cost of delivery. This should result in savings for many off-campus students. They will pay the same rate, regardless of the means of course delivery—TV, Internet, computer or site instruction," said Perry. "The one exception to this is that students in Sioux Falls who take courses at the Center for Public Higher Education will pay an additional fee. This money will be deposited in a fund used to maintain facilities. The difference is about $12 per credit hour for an undergraduate course," Perry added.

The off-campus rate for undergraduates for the 1999-2000 academic year will be $125.45 per credit hour outside of Sioux Falls and $137.15 per credit hour in Sioux Falls.

Return to 1999 Press Releases