No one wants to have to pay more money to go to school than is absolutely necessary. That’s why the news of yet another hike in tuition and student fees made SDSU students groan when the Board of Regents announced it last week.
Despite the fact that it will make college harder to afford for many students, these increases actually make sense in the long run, especially since they are in the best interest of SDSU students.
To be fair, the Board of Regents seems to have made tuition increases an annual event. During every spring in recent memory, the board has increased tuition and made school harder to pay for.
It makes sense to keep the cost of school low in South Dakota. Many students have trouble affording it already and find themselves buried in student loans when they graduate. Increasing these costs only increases the amount they have to pay back and prevents more and more potential students from attending South Dakota universities.
However, the Board of Regents seems to have good ideas in mind for this money.
The $3 per credit hour increase in student fees (which would likely lead to a $48 dollar total increase for the average student) will be used to renovate the student union in order to make it easier for students to use and give it the kinds of features most Division I schools have in their student unions. Most SDSU students would support the renovation of our student union, as it has needed it for some time.
The 5.8 percent increase for tuition, fees and room and board seems dicier, however. The average cost for a resident undergraduate student will go up $427 with this increase, which is a significant sum for most students.
However, most of the increase will be used to pay salaries and benefits for university faculty and other employees. This is a welcome attempt to catch up in a state which has lagged behind other states in its attempts to adequately compensate teachers for years.
While it’s not nearly enough to catch up to other states completely, every little bit helps. This little bit will help the regents pay for a $1.6 million increase in health insurance for faculty and employees, thereby making SDSU a more attractive place to work.
While students may experience an initial bout of wary sticker shock at the increase in tuition and fees, they would do well to keep in mind the fact that every bit of their money is going towards making SDSU a better place to learn, whether that money be used to fix our union or pay teachers more adequately.
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