Public Universities Seek Tuition Freeze for Coming Year
With an ultimate goal of bringing the ratio of funding from students and state government back to 50-50 over three years, a $4.7 million budget request for next year will be forwarded to Gov. Dennis Daugaard to prevent more higher education cost shifting to students, regents said. In 2014, the public university system received extra funding to hold the line on state-supported tuition and mandatory fees for resident students, as well as program and delivery fees. While a similar request was made in 2015, the governor and legislators did not fund it. “Our goal is clear,” said Regents President Randy Schaefer. “An investment in keeping tuition affordable for resident students provides a huge economic return to the state. It means we can educate a more highly skilled workforce to attract high-tech business and industry, build a stronger tax base, and create a better quality of life in South Dakota.”
In addition, the regents will request state investments to address deferred maintenance on academic buildings, increase need-based scholarship support, restructure tuition and fees to give National Guard members a bigger tuition reduction, and support new math initiatives to help students succeed in college.
Other ongoing requests seek financial support for new initiatives to move campus research-initiated inventions into the marketplace and create a Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment at USD to educate health care and human services professionals about child sexual abuse. The center is a priority for a state-appointed group known as Jolene’s Law Task Force.
The budget request overall seeks $14.2 million in new and ongoing state resources linked to specific priorities of the six public universities and two special schools. The regents have asked Gov. Daugaard to make a tuition freeze for resident students the highest priority when he puts together a recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2017.
The board also identified $14.2 million in one-time budget requests. Those priorities are to create a matching fund for capital construction projects, replace routing equipment for a high-speed telecommunications network that links South Dakota researchers to their colleagues across the globe, and to purchase high-priority research equipment and help support industry-sponsored research on the campuses.
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