Ben Solomon, SDSU student representative for the statewide STUDENT Project, met with the Student Association Monday to discuss aspects of the program relative to students at SDSU.
The STUDENT project is a South Dakota Board of Regents effort to consolidate student records and class information into a statewide network available to the regential South Dakota university system.
The project has already brought on the evaluation of courses at the state’s institutions. Courses deemed similar were given common course numbering that will transfer easily to any of the regential campuses. Additionally, merged student data, including transcripts, will be available at any regential university.
“When you apply for graduate programs, you have to get transcripts from all the schools you’ve attended-this will make that easier,” said Solomon.
He stressed that the transition to isn’t without concerns.
“There are some security considerations,” he said. “Right now, a lot of offices have information about you. [With the new, merged system] someone from [another institution] could possibly see your parent’s financial information, or your Social Security number.”
Solomon suggested the Student Association pass a resolution urging those working with the STUDENT Project to maintain confidentiality of the information it will contain.
Solomon also pointed out that the new project may downplay the individuality of the campuses in the state. He said that heading on new transcripts may not feature the name of the school, but rather the state’s higher education system as a whole.
Student Association president Eric Erickson echoed Solomon’s concerns.
“We want to make sure that there is an effort to have the universities maintain their identities,” he said. “Many of the projects on campus are alumni funded, and it’s important to keep that relationship between South Dakota State University and our alumni and current students.”
“It’s important when you go job hunting. You may want employers to know you went to SDSU and not another institution.”
Solomon said administrators at the state’s institutions are opposed to a consolidated university, and some are not even in favor of the project at all.
SA Senator Seth Koch requested a clarification on the benefits of the project.
Solomon reiterated that the consolidated course numbering would make the transfer of credits among state institutions much easier.
“The benefits right now seem very, very limited,” he said. “To answer your question-transcripts, great; the transfer of credits, great; but I don’t think that many people would use that.”