News Release
Contacts: Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director
Janelle Toman, Director of Information and Institutional Research
T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 25, 2003

South Dakota Public Higher Education: Lower Costs, Higher Productivity

ABERDEEN – A national study of instructional costs and productivity found South Dakota’s public higher education system has lower costs of instruction, but higher levels of instructional productivity, compared to national averages.

“No doubt about it—South Dakota gets more bang for its buck in public higher education,” Regents President Harvey C. Jewett said. “These data provide a snapshot of how our system stacks up against national benchmarks. As we examine the state’s return on its level of investment in higher education, this is very useful information to communicate to the public and policymakers.”

Comparing data from South Dakota’s public university system to national benchmarks:

· South Dakota’s instructional expenditures of $3,954 per student were lower than the national average of $5,683;

· The average faculty member teaches more students, 17.5, than the average nationally of 16.4 students;

· The South Dakota faculty member also teaches more total student credit hours (231 vs. 221) and more organized class sections, including labs (4.2 vs. 3.7).

· In South Dakota, a regular faculty member is more likely to teach an organized undergraduate class section than someone who is an adjunct or graduate assistant (86 percent vs. 73 percent nationally). This disparity is even greater in undergraduate laboratory sections, where 74 percent are taught by regular faculty members in South Dakota versus 44 percent nationally;

· South Dakota dedicates an average of 92 percent of instructional expenditures to personnel costs, slightly below the national average of 93 percent.

“South Dakota spends at 70 percent of the national average on direct instructional spending per student,” Robert T. Tad Perry, the Regents’ executive director, said. Trend data since 1999 show that percentage has remained constant, he said.

The University of Delaware conducted the study in the spring of 2002, looking at 2001 costs. All six public universities in South Dakota participated in the study. Universities shared their data on faculty teaching loads, costs of instruction, and productivity levels.


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