Select student groups receive tuition discounts


Tuition can be expensive, but if students are over the age of 65 they can get a discount. 

Senior citizens are not the only group that can get a discount; students involved in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program or recertifying a teacher license also qualify for discounts, according to the South Dakota Board of Regents and South Dakota State University officials. 

For students over the age of 65, tuition fees with the discount are a quarter of South Dakota resident tuition fees per credit. This comes out to about $36.20 for undergraduate studies and $54.85 for graduate studies. The approximate yearly tuition costs for undergraduate is $5,926 and $6,485.80 for graduate studies. 

“It is a way to support those to still have something to offer to the workforce,” said Janelle Toman, director of communications for the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Toman said the discount gives older people in the workforce who are determined not to retire an opportunity to refresh the skills they have known for years or to learn something different.

John Kubal, a Brookings City Council member, returned to SDSU after a 35 year career in the navy. He returned at the age of 52 to pursue a degree in journalism.

“I like to write and I wanted to get some sort of job to let me use my love of the English language,” Kubal said.

But Kubal did not attend SDSU just to receive a degree, he said, “Education is a cradle–to-grave experience and you never stop pursuing knowledge and wisdom.”

 Students who are state employees, recertifying teacher certificates or who are part of the ROTC program also receive discounts. According to the SDSU website, these students pay $72.35 per undergraduate credit hour. The total tuition cost for a year taking 15 credits per semester including the additional fees would come to approximately $7,010.50 for these students, not including the cost of a meal plan or room and board.

 However, students using such discounts still have to pay other mandatory fees such as the General Activity Fee and the Resident Support Fee. The student must be a resident of South Dakota and be taking state support courses in order to receive the tuition discount according to the SDSU Cashier’s Office.

In the education field, teachers must go back to school and take extra courses to stay certified and keep their licenses up-to-date. According to Toman, this is why the teacher certificate discount is given to those students.

Giving extra financial support for college to military members is not unique to SDSU. At the state level, discussion has spurred about supporting the military. Toman said there are also tuition discounts for the National Guard and active service members.

Troy Ness, recruiting operations officer for the South Dakota State ROTC Program, said the biggest benefit of the tuition reduction is for non-scholarship, contracted cadets. Contracted cadets do not receive scholarships when 100 percent of tuition and fees covered AME through the ROTC program. 

“Any amount of tuition reduction,” Ness said, “is beneficial in paying for college.”