For Immediate Release 17 December 1999
Board of Regents Approves New Adjacent State Tuition Policy
ABERDEENThe South Dakota Board of Regents took action today to encourage students in adjacent states to enroll in regental universities. The Regents are meeting on the campus of Northern State University in Aberdeen.
"In the early 1990s enrollments in the state were at an all-time high," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV, of Aberdeen. "In order to control the enrollment growth, the Regents adopted a policy of increasing non-resident tuition about 15 percent a year, until it reached a point where it was 3 times that of resident tuition. But the non-resident tuition increases have affected the universities differently. The University of South Dakota has probably taken the biggest hit. We Regents think it is time to revisit this policy."
The Regents considered that those non-resident students most likely to enroll in a South Dakota university are also those who live near the states borders. Many of them conduct business transactions in South Dakota that require the payment of sales tax. "Since the states chief source of revenue used to support higher education is derived from the sales tax, some residents from adjacent states are making a contribution to the states financial resources. Providing a tuition rate for the residents of these states that is different from that charged to other non-resident students is understandable," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.
This new rate will be phased in with first-time freshmen and new transfers, starting in the fall of 2000. "This will affect principally those students who are residents of Iowa and Nebraska," said Perry. "Creating a special rate for students who reside in adjacent states is a policy commonly followed in other areas of the country. It is simply a way of recognizing that most students want to go to college close to home."
Students from Minnesota qualify for a special rate based on the reciprocity agreement between that state and South Dakota. Under that agreement, Minnesota students pay a rate that is about 11 percent higher than in-state resident tuition. Students from the other neighboring states of North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming pay 150 percent of the in-state rate because they are members of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, a program to which South Dakota also belongs.
Regent Shane Penfield, a student at the University of South Dakota, said, "When I was an undergraduate student, I thought that it was not right for non-resident students to come here and get an education that my parents as taxpayers were paying for. But I have watched the enrollment dip and I realize that sometimes classes are cancelled because there are not enough students to fill them. That affects the kind of education that I can get. As long as there is unused capacity, we should invite them to go to school here."
Perry noted that non-resident students and their families contribute to the local economies of the university towns. Many of them stay to become South Dakota residents. "Some of our neighbor states have figured out that recruiting college students is an economic development tool. We need educated workers to grow our economy. If some of these students build lives here, we have made a long-term investment. And even if they dont, they have contributed in the short-term," said Perry.
If the proposed rate reduction had been in effect for the 1999-2000 academic year, the non-resident rate for students from adjacent states would have been decreased from $185.65 per credit hour to $139.45 per credit hour. The Board of Regents will set tuition rates for the 2000-01 year at its March 2000 Board meeting.
For more information, contact Dr. Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director, or Kathy Johnson, Director of Administrative Affairs, (605) 773-3455.
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