In-state students see relief with tuition freeze effective for 2015 fiscal year

Jordan Smith Editor-in-Chief


 South Dakota residents can breathe a sigh of relief when thinking about paying for college during the 2014- 2015 school year. There will be no tuition increase and no fee increase – this means South Dakota residents will not pay more for tuition and fees than they did during the 2014 fiscal year. 

The Board of Regents met April 2 and 3 in Madison and set tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year. The regents confirmed the freeze on tuition and fees for resident students. The freeze was made possible by nearly $4 million in additional general fund appropriations passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. 

The estimated undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees for a resident student taking 30 credits at SDSU is $7,713; for graduate resident students taking 24 credits the estimated tuition and mandatory fee cost is $7,889. This price reflects the current FY14 pricing. 

“State policymakers recognized the importance of providing a higher education to all eligible South Dakotans, while keeping cost at an affordable level,” said BOR President Dean Krogman. 

The state, government and legislature passed the tuition buy down, which means that the state will cover costs such as a 3 percent salary increase. The state will contribute nearly $4 million to allow for a tuition freeze for students. 

Additionally, there will be no increases of program fees, delivery fees or vehicle registration fees from FY14 to FY15. 

Out-of-state students will see a 7 percent increase in tuition at SDSU. This increase does not apply to Minnesota students, as they receive reciprocity. According to Provost Laurie Nichols, the increase in tuition for Minnesota students will be small, but as of yet the university is unsure what the increase will be. 

Tuition for online classes will increase by 3.7 percent, making it $312.90 per undergraduate credit and $414.85 per graduate credit. The reason for this is that distance education courses must be self-supporting, Nichols said. 

All tuition and fee changes occur beginning with summer term. The freeze does not apply to distance related courses and out-of-state residents. It also does not apply to room and board charges. 

The tuition freeze has been the number one priority to the BOR, according to Janelle Toman, BOR director of communication. 


 It was presented in a budget presentation to governor last fall.

According to Nichols, what’s driving up tuition cost includes a salary increase for employees. This year the state is funding $2.1 million of the cost – which is usually funded by the students.

Another factor that drives up tuition costs is employer-paid health insurance.

The state willl cover an increase in health insurance costs for areas of the regents’ budget that would normally be funded by students, totaling $1,298,212 and funded $573,284 for inflation costs. 

The freeze is solely based on tuition and mandatory type fees, including the General Activity Fee, Toman said.

The BOR sets tuition and fees annually for the coming academic year and a freeze in the future would have to be made based on the legislature appropriating money, Toman said.

“It is the [BOR] number one priority to attempt to keep tuition as affordable as possible,” Toman said

There were concerns when the BOR compared South Dakota tuition to the average total cost of surrounding states. Between eight other states, South Dakota was third on the list behind only Minnesota and Iowa.

South Dakota is asking students to pay a lot more out of pocket than other states. Other universities in states such as Wyoming had a lot greater state support, meaning that taxpayers are able to provide lower cost public education.

Administration is concerned about turning off out-of-state students, and Nichols said that Vice President for Student Affairs Marysz Rames has been working with financial aid and the admissions office to keep an eye on the needs of out of state students. 

South Dakota charges out-of-state students 150 percent of resident tuition, which is modest in comparison to other states, Toman said.

Sophomore advertising major Jordan Grable said the tuition freeze is a good thing for everyone.

“If college gets too expensive, students like myself may not be able to keep coming back,” Grable said.

If students live in the residence halls, they may see a slight increase in cost, but it won’t affect their tuition. 

“Residence halls must be self supporting,” Nichols said. “Tuition isn’t subsidized to cover costs of the residence halls.”

Nichols said she hopes that the tuition freeze will make in-state students happy and convince students to go to school in state rather than look elsewhere.

Nichols said, “It is important to get a college education and it is critical that it is affordable to students.”