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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Board of Regents Share Triumphs and Challenges of State University System

Officials with the Board of Regents and state Universities presented an overview of the University system before a House committee Wednesday. They highlighted the importance of producing more college graduates and keeping those graduates in South Dakota.

Board of Regents Executive Director Dr. Jack Warner says there has been a slight, but reasonably significant reduction in the percentage of students who come to college needing remediation.
“One of the big drivers for that was the Opportunity Scholarship,” Warner says. “Interestingly enough since that went into effect in 2004 we started to see some reductions in the numbers of students or the percentages of students who needed remediation.”
Warner says there has been a 26% growth in college graduates in South Dakota in the past ten years, in a time when enrollment has increased by 14%. He also says there is very little evidence of mal-employment in South Dakota, meaning most college graduates are obtaining jobs that require degrees.

But he says the state ranks below the national average in degree attainment. He says Universities continue to work on improving retention rates.
Warner says a college educated workforce often means a lower unemployment rate. It also means more money for graduates: those with a baccalaureate degree will earn close to a million dollars more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. He says this leads to benefits for the public.
“So the higher you go on the educational attainment ladder, the more favorable it is for the state’s tax base and the public services that will be offered,” Warner says. “Not to mention that highly educated people educate their own children to higher levels, they are more likely to participate civically and to be engaged in their communities. And so states, regions, and the nation all benefit when individuals are highly educated.”
Warner says that’s why the state subsidizes college education. He says the state currently contributes about 42% of the operating budget, and students about 58%.