Tuition rates are being cut, but not for all SDSU students.
Starting next year, out-of-state students who are incoming freshmen, and transfer students will see the change. The 200 percent out-of-state rate will be cut to the Western Undergraduate Exchange rate of 150 percent of what in-state students pay. International students, not on exchange programs, will also be affected by the change.
Students’ Association President Ryan Brunner said, “It would cost a lot of money to do it flat out, so we phase it in.”
With the change, SDSU picks up states east of South Dakota. The WUE rate had previously been offered to 15 states west of South Dakota, and excluded Minnesota, which has a reciprocity agreement, and adjacent states Iowa and Nebraska, which have their own rates.
The Tuition Review Committee, made by the South Dakota Board of Regents and faculty and students from each of the six BOR schools, first looked into making a cut because of the declining number of high-school graduates projected in the next 10 years. This decline is expected to accelerate in South Dakota and other states in the high plains, according to the committee. The decline in high-school graduates has, in effect, dropped enrollment numbers in South Dakota’s public higher education institutions.
However, the number of non-resident first-time freshmen may be increasing. According to the committee, non-resident enrollments may not be sufficient to counter the loss in resident enrollments in the next decade.
Ralph Brown of the USD Business School concluded that further reductions in the 150 percent tuition rate residents of Iowa and Nebraska pay would not result in sufficient enrollment growth to offset the loss in tuition. More students from those states might be interested in attending SDSU and other system schools, but overall system tuition revenue would fall.
With the cut, the current non-resident undergraduate tuition rate of $242.60 would be reduced to $114.55, 150 percent of the undergraduate resident rate. The committee and BOR said they feel that, if marketed correctly, it would increase the number of students in the system and offset any losses. Sixty-seven additional students will be needed to offset revenue losses.
Two markets that are being heavily targeted are Wisconsin and Illinois. The similarities between the two states and South Dakota are beneficial in recruiting students, as is the possibility of a more diverse student population created by students from Wisconsin and Illinois. Brunner said appealing to high-school students in these states is worth the effort, as the drive from Wisconsin or Illinois to SDSU is close to the drive time of students living in western South Dakota. Both Illinois’ and Wisconsin’s high-school graduation rates are expected to rise in the next couple years. Several BOR schools have large numbers of alumni in these areas, which is helpful in recruiting students.