Courtesy of the South Dakota Board of Regents
Thanks to significant financial support from the Legislature, the South Dakota Board of Regents today froze tuition and mandatory fees for public university students for the coming year.
When the main run of the legislative session concluded March 10, lawmakers had increased base funding for the public university system by more than $8.6 million. This level of state support will cover salary increases for a portion of Board of Regents’ employees not usually funded with state dollars. As a result, regents will be able to freeze tuition and mandatory fees at their current rates and cover the legislature’s 6% salary policy for state employees.
In the past, the state covered less than half the salary and benefit package for employees in the public university system, so tuition, fees, and other charges were raised internally to cover the remainder of that obligation.
“This year, the Legislature’s action to invest additional base general funds in state salary policy will support raises for tuition-funded employees within the Board of Regents’ system and allow us to hold the line on student tuition,” said Brian L. Maher, the regents’ executive director and CEO. “There have been some funds directed in the past to a tuition freeze, which we welcomed. Addition of base general funds is a major step forward as we continue to address student affordability and the costs of higher education.
“We are very thankful to the Joint Appropriations Committee and the legislature, to House and Senate leaders and to Gov. Noem for their support of public higher education this legislative session,” Maher continued.
Along with the support for employees’ salaries, regents’ officials estimate the public universities and special schools stand to benefit from an increase of more than $120 million in state and federal funds through special appropriations passed this session. “Add to that the authority granted to spend $166 million in donated and other funds for major projects, and we can say 2022 is truly a remarkable year for public higher education in South Dakota,” Maher said.
Other action this session repealed a requirement to charge higher, off-campus tuition rates for the university centers located in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. With passage of House Bill 1024, lower rates will now apply to courses taken in person at Black Hills State University-Rapid City and the University of South Dakota-Sioux Falls (formerly known as the Community College for Sioux Falls).