State schools don’t deserve an ‘F’

Our View

Our View

Editorial Board Editor-In-Chief Tanya MarshCollegian Managing Editor Michelle HerrickJuice Managing Editor Jeremy Fugleberg Campus Heather Mangan State and Local Kristin Marthaler Sports Faith MoldanCopy Editor Victoria RiggsArts & Entertainment Crystal HohenthanerLife Edward KearnsPhoto Editor Jerry Smith

The Issue: Report says a South Dakota education isn’t cheap.

Our View: It shouldn’t discourage high school students from going to college.

South Dakota got a bum rap this week when a national report said the cost of a public college education here was out of line.

We have a story on page four in this week’s Collegian that reports the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education put an “F” on South Dakota’s report card for affordability. The report says families are forced to spend a large share of their income on college degrees.

Hold on a moment.

The average cost for a South Dakota high school graduate to attend one year of college at South Dakota State University is $4,746. The University of Minnesota charges its students $8,230, the University of Nebraska $5,340 and the University of Iowa $5,396.

These figures only include tuition and fees. It does not include room and board, which a student has to pay whether he or she is in college or out working for a living. It also does not include books, which can add on average $300 to $400 a semester to the cost.

Even so, South Dakota’s $4,746 per year for college is a fair price. Some may even call it a bargain, given that the college degree, once obtained, will open the door for much higher wages during the graduate’s lifetime.

If it costs $20,000 for a four-year degree in South Dakota, that expense, which could more closely be considered an investment, will be recovered many times over in future years.

Tuition, fees, books and living costs have gone up in South Dakota – just as they have in other states.

But if a student is willing to work hard during the summer, save money and take a part-time job during college, that student will graduate with a debt that is not only bearable, but subject to elimination in a short period of time.

South Dakota received its best grade, a B+, in participation, a category that measures whether residents have ample opportunity to enroll in education and training beyond high school.

It would be unfortunate if the report discouraged high school students from pursuing a higher education.

The Associated Press contributed information to this editorial.