SDSU needs to spend wisely during recession


Editorial Board

Issue: The recession affects SDSU students, both undergraduates and graduates, in a multitude of different avenues – from state funds and student loans to job security and health care. South Dakota has deflected much of the initial sting but long-term affects could spell trouble for our state’s economy and the future of our campus.

SDSU’s future looks really bright. From the unprecedented spurts in student population and new buildings, there seems to be few reasons to doubt this campus will remain a powerhouse in the region. Unfortunately, the biggest recession since the ’80s is creeping into the South Dakota economy.

The vast majority of students today have never faced anything like a recession. For us, American economics were always based on growth and prosperity. Growing up with an abundance of wealth placed in a mindset based on wants and less on needs. In a fledgling economy, children of the ’90s need to invest in themselves and act frugally.

Many students need student loans and other financial aid to help or fully pay for their college degree. The SDSU Foundation faces a 24 percent decrease in scholarship endowments due to lack of funding. Donors are feeling the recession and have less to give for students’ education. Financial institutions and banks are weighed down with numerous monetary woes. However, in a country clogged with sub-prime home loans and a reduced economy, students still need financial aid. Without help, undergraduates cannot pay their tuition and an investment in the future is squandered.

Gov. Rounds has called for cost saving measures in the state government. From freezing new hiring in state government to eliminating non-mandatory travel, the executive branch is looking to “belt-tightening” while South Dakota falls into the effects of the national recession. The outlook for state funding is bright, due to Gov. Rounds’ commitment to state education. The 2010 Initiative, in part, focuses on improving state education.

The Board of Regents announced they would follow the executive branch’s lead and look to save money. With this kind of economic mindset needed in tough times, are new programs like the Mobile Computing Initiative fiscally responsible for cash-strapped students?

We feel it would be a critical disservice to students attending school during a recession to ask for student fee increases for a program like Mobile Computing. While we agree it is important to keep pace with new technology, adding a potential $7 to SDSU student fees seems ludicrous, especially when new reports show SDSU students graduate with the most incurred debt in the region.

Currently, the situation isn’t dire for SDSU students. Only with forward thinking and investments in future success will this campus continue to prosper. Currently, it doesn’t look half bad.

Stance: Spending money wisely is important to fight the recession’s effects on the economy. Continuing effort in research, such as the Innovation Campus and 2010 Initiative, are promising for students during economic hardships. The state, along with the university, must move forward cautiously. While we tighten our belts, we must provide students in South Dakota the opportunity to succeed.