SDBOR looking for another tuition freeze to keep costs low
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Board of Regents is again looking for a tuition freeze for it’s six public state universities. This time, it’s looking for a freeze for the 2025 fiscal year. The board has had success with past freezes in keeping costs from rising at the state’s public universities, and it says another freeze in necessary in keeping them competitive and attractive for students.
While national attendance at universities across the country has been trending down recently, that hasn’t been the case in South Dakota according to Board of Regents Executive Director Nathan Lukkes.
“We won’t have firm numbers here for another few weeks, but things are trending in the right direction and we’re optimistic for a positive movement again as we approach the fall semester,” Lukkes said.
While much of the country has been down about one percent in enrollment in recent years, South Dakota has been up about one percent in that same time. Lukkes said that’s thanks to tuition freezes passed by the state legislature, and universities doing what they can to keep other costs low.
South Dakota was recently named by Forbes as the top state when looking for an affordable place to get a college degree, citing it’s low tuition costs and living expenses.
“Not only have we managed to hold tuition flat for roughly four years, we’ve done that bucking some of the largest inflationary increases that we’ve seen in recent history in our country. Kudos to our campuses for really buckling down and absorbing costs, cutting costs,” Lukkes said.
The Board of Regents has been keeping an eye on it’s neighbors too, especially as Minnesota recently passed it’s “North Star Promise” that grants free tuition for Minnesota residents and families making under 80 thousand dollars a year. But Lukkes said even after factoring out tuition, South Dakota is still competitive when looking at overall costs.
While they expect a number of Minnesota high school students to stay in-state, the Board of Regents doesn’t plan on the program impacting the state like it’s neighbors.
“The reality is is that when you factor in cost of living, scholarship opportunities, South Dakota is still affordable. Those students may just get a cheaper education in South Dakota than they would staying in Minnesota,” Lukkes said. “We don’t anticipate it having nearly the impact that North Dakota has forecasted, in large part because of the tuition freeze and the affordability focus that our legislature, governor’s office and board have had over the last four years.”
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