For Immediate Release 24 March 2000
Board of Regents sets Tuition and Fees for 2000-01
ABERDEENThe Board of Regents, today in its regular business meeting at South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, set tuition and fee rates for the university system for the next academic year.
For the 2000-01 academic year tuition rates at all universities for resident undergraduates will be $60.40 per credit hour. Based on 32 credit hours, the total estimated system costs for tuition, required fees, room and board is $6,578, an increase of $278 over the cost of the same items in the current academic year. That is a weighted system average increase of 4.4 percent.
The Regents consider a number of factors when setting tuition and fee rates each year. "The Regents decided a few years ago to recognize the Higher Education Price Index as a measurement of the increased costs associated with higher education. It measures the cost of what we have to buy, such as library journals and test tubes, unlike the consumer price index, which measures the price of groceries and other expenditures of families and households. We set a policy of relying on this index as a guide to limit the inflationary increase in tuition and fees," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV, Aberdeen. "Any increases in fees beyond the HEPI inflation will have to be justified by those making the request for the increase."
The Higher Education Price Index 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 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.
Regent David Gienapp said, "Setting tuition is not something that pops up in March. We work on it in the Budget Committee and all through the year."
In addition to matching salary increases for state employees, tuition and fee increases include money for the third year of a 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. Two years ago the Regents 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 Jewett. "This plan has had measurable results. University presidents tell the Regents that they have money to recruit new faculty and to reward those on campus who contribute the most to the education of their students. We have been able to have a real impact on the quality of education offered at the public universities."
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 third year of a six-year plan to standardize the USF, so the increases at some institutions are greater than at others as the universities are moved toward the goal of the same rate. Unlike the USF, the General Activity Fee, which supports student union buildings and student organizations, is voted on by the students enrolled at a particular university and reflects their desire to support activities. Even though the students vote 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.
In a related matter, the Regents discussed student costs at public institutions in the upper central United States. "In 1999-00 the average undergraduate resident student in South Dakota still paid less than a resident student in most of our neighboring states," said Perry. "Only resident students in North Dakota and Idaho paid less, when all costs for tuition, mandatory fees, double occupancy room and a meal plan for about 15 meals per week were considered."
Perry also pointed out that an undergraduate nonresident got a better deal in South Dakota than in all neighboring states except North Dakota. "Even though we have heard a lot lately about South Dakotas increases in nonresident rates, coming to South Dakota for an undergraduate education is still a pretty good buy. We have the quality and we have the price. I hope more of them will take a look at our universities," Perry said.
For the first time the Regents set an adjacent state tuition rate at $144.35 per credit hour, which is 25 percent less than the regular nonresident rate. This rate will be charged to new students from Nebraska and Iowa. Students from other neighboring states already qualify for reduced tuition rates through various reciprocal agreements.
South Dakota ranks among the three lowest states in all total cost categories. The following table summarizes these rankings and assorted percentage increases.
In addition to all of the benefits of attaining a higher education degree, South Dakota public universities provide a value to its resident students. Even when considering the Minnesota reciprocity and Western Undergraduate Exchange rates. South Dakota students get the best deal by attending a South Dakota public university.
The chart below shows what it would cost a South Dakota resident to attend college in that state.
For more information, contact Dr. Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director, or Kathy Johnson, Director of Administrative Services, (605) 773-3455.
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