Tuition, fees, housing and meal plans to increase

Andrew Wieting

Andrew Wieting

As it has been said before, when it rains it pours. Soaring gas prices make it more expensive for many students to get to school, and elevated food prices greatly increase the general cost of living. Many students feel a tight squeeze on their pocket books as they look ahead to paying another year’s school cost.

Next year’s cost for students is going to be even higher. Tuition and mandatory fees will go up an average of 5.9 percent to cover the basic operations of the public university system next year. Along with this increase will be a rise of 4.3 to 4.4 percent in residence hall rates and an additional 2 percent increase in fees earmarked for the science and laboratory upgrades. There is also going to be about a 2.8 percent increase in meal plan costs.

“Inflationary costs and salary policies are primary drivers of our tuition and fee rates each year,” Regents President Harvey C. Jewett said. “In fact, state general funds appropriated by the legislature cover only about 48 percent of the public university system’s salary costs. The regents must raise the remaining 52 percent from other sources.”

According to a news release from the Board of Regents, the weighted cost of tuition and mandatory fees paid by each university student in South Dakota is expected to increase by about $463 next year.

This impacts students at SDSU immensely. On-campus students will incur a 12.3 percent rise in aggregate cost, and off-campus students will bear an increase of 7.9 percent.

Chris Binker, a senior civil engineering major, could not believe the tuition and cost increase, especially when the current situation of the overall economy is taken into account.

When asked about the residence hall rate increase taking place at SDSU, Janelle Toman, Director of Information & Institutional Research for the BOR, said, “The residence hall rates are charged on a per-semester basis to fund the ongoing operations of the residence halls, including major repairs, renovations and debt service. All rates were adjusted to meet the inflationary increase of 2.6 percent; at SDSU, an additional 1.75 percent above inflation was requested to support rising minimum wage and utility costs.”

Factors such as inflation, the cost of living and building and equipment wear all increase the cost of running a university and in part account for the rise in fees. In addition, the South Dakota Legislature passed House Bill 1085 issuing a $74.5 million state bond to finance renovation of 11 higher education science facility projects. In accordance with this bond, the legislature agreed to cost-share the project with students at the state universities. Owing to the increasing costs and needed enhancements at the universities, student’s fees have been raised.