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South Dakota Has Region’s Highest Tuition Increases

South Dakota is making it harder for folks to get a college education. At their meeting in Brookings this week, the Board of Regents will hear a report comparing our state university tuition and fee increases with the increases in surrounding states. The report checks finalized or estimated tuition and fee increases at public universities in our six neighboring states and Idaho. Across campuses, the average increase is highest in South Dakota:

State Average Tuition Increase
Idaho 5.5%
Iowa 3.6%
Minnesota 4.1%
Montana 4.4%
Nebraska 5.0%
North Dakota 1.8%
South Dakota 5.8%
Wyoming 5.3%

You'll still find an undergraduate education in South Dakota costs less than what residents pay in Minnesota, Iowa, or at UNL in Lincoln. But University of Wyoming (remember, the only state university in that whole state) keeps its resident student costs below those of all of South Dakota's campuses except for Northern State. University of Idaho and University of Montana both charge just a touch less than University of South Dakota.

So are we happy with seeing the highest tuition increases in the region, or are we ready to tell our legislators to reverse the trend of shifting the cost of higher education from the state to students?


  1. Carter 2012.05.14

    When I started at DSU, my tuition was ~$90/credit hour. It is now over $200/credit hour. That's slightly more then 5.8%, I think.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.14

    Holy cow! Really? Did you change programs or residency status?

  3. D.E. Bishop 2012.05.14

    MN's is 3.5% for next year. There is much rejoicing here because that is the lowest increase in nearly two decades.

  4. Carter 2012.05.15

    Cory, no. I'm half-convinced that the numbers I looked at were off for some reason (they were on the DSU site, but you never know), but after rechecking several times, I'm pretty confident they're the same number.

    And it's not my individual tuition. It's the all-around DSU in-state tuition. I kept wondering how I was getting bigger loans every year and still coming up short, and then I looked up the numbers. It's insane. I was thinking about gathering up some official numbers from someone and starting some kind of action, but, as a student, I barely have enough time for homework and real work, let alone throwing petitions and stuff in there.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.16

    I understand the problem, Carter. To get the most out of your education, you should be able to spend the majority of your waking hours focusing on school, not holding down a full-time job to pay tuition. We need to invest more in you and your compatriots.

  6. Carter 2012.05.16

    Luckily, Cory, my parents have been financially responsible/fortunate enough to help me out quite a bit, which is dandy since FAFSA is bafflingly poorly thought out, plus, now that I qualify as independent (it's a mess) I get more loans.

    So, aside from needing a bit of money from a part-time job (not full time!), I can get through school. With any luck, I'll get a good enough job after school to pay off my (practically exponentially) increasing debt.

    So, I'm actually pretty well-off, money-wise. Despite the rising costs, DSU is still very cheap. I can't imagine how students pay for more expensive colleges. It's insane. I'll graduate fine, but what about the kids who come later? I'd like to think the future of higher education was sound, but it's not looking that way, and that's what has me worried.

  7. Carter 2012.05.16

    Ah, Cory! My bill for summer classes is up.

    Two classes (one at DSU, one at SDSU). 5 credits. $1511.09. That's the tuition we're looking at here. I don't know where they got that 5.8%, but if you look over the course of a few years, it's over 100% some places. Probably ~80% statewide over 4 years.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.05.16

    Good grief! Are those off-campus, self-support rates?

  9. Carter 2012.05.16

    Yes. That's just credit hours + whatever fees they for SDSU stuff (one class is online). That's not including the $300 for two books.

    So, you can imagine the money they're making off this. Tuition is sky high, room and board is sky high, food plans are sky high. I got out of the dorms and food plans as soon as I could. I have no idea how much money I'd be spending with food plans and the dorm now. Vastly more than I'm paying for rent+groceries I'd bet.

    I'm just glad I'm done in a year. If it's going to keep going up like this, I won't be able to afford another. I honestly don't think they're going to be able to keep their student population up. One of the main reasons people go to SDSU colleges is the low price. The more students pay, the more that disappears. None of the SD universities are the best in the nation at what they teach, and if they can't keep the best price, they're going to lose their students.

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