The South Dakota Board of Technical Education held its first spring meeting this week to set tuition for the next academic year. The board was appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard last summer.
Tuition rates for the state’s four technical institutions is set for the 2018 to 2019 school year, and it means a slight bump in costs for students. In-state students will pay 116-dollars per credit hour—a two-dollar increase from last year.
Nick Wendell is the executive director of the South Dakota Board of Technical education. He says this is the first spring that the nine-member board takes over some duties previously held by the state Board of Education.
Wendell says the tuition increase is a conservative approach after legislative appropriations set the amount of state support for the coming year. He calls technical programs ‘resource-heavy,’ meaning high-quality technical education requires lab space, equipment, and adequate facilities.
“There’s really no way to minimize that cost when you bring a student onto campus and wanna give them a real-world experience so they can leave as a skilled professional," he says. "You’ve gotta invest, and the cost of that increases every year.”
He adds that although tuition is going up next year, it’s the smallest increase in the past five years. However, he says the cost to students for a technical education is higher in South Dakota than in surrounding states, and that can translate to a workforce concern.
"Because we know that if a student gets a technical degree in the state of South Dakota, the likelihood that they’ll go to work here and stay here is much higher," he says.
Wendell says the board is mindful of the need to meet costs while staying competitive. He notes that other state fees for technical education will stay flat next year.