Regents increase tuition and fees The Board of Regents, during its regular business meeting March 28 at Dakota State University, set tuition and fee rates for the university system for the next academic year.
The regents' objectives in setting the tuition and fees were: to meet the costs of the state salary policy for employees not paid by state general fund resources; to meet the costs of an additional 1 percent salary increase to achieve a salary pool of 4 percent in order to retain South Dakota's average salary position relative to surrounding states; to complete the process of standardization of the university support fee in order to provide the same resources for academic support for students at each of the state universities; to cover the salary costs of employees paid from fee revenues; and to provide technology funding to implement the regents' technology plan.
"The regents were able to minimize tuition and fee increases at South Dakota universities. Our neighboring states, Iowa and Minnesota are expected to increase tuition and fees by 18.5 percent and 13.6 percent respectively," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, Aberdeen.
For the 2002-03 academic year tuition rates at all universities for resident undergraduates will be $65 per credit hour. Based on 32 credit hours, the average estimated system costs for tuition, required fees, room and board is $7,432.29, an increase of $406.53 over the cost of the same items in the current academic year. That is a weighted system average increase of 5.8 percent.
The board approved exceptions above the 3.4 percent inflation guideline for three campuses to adjust the percentage increase for required fees. Students at Northern State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology requested an increase in general activity fees.
The additional funds at Northern will be used to pay increased costs for health services and maintain services to students. At School of Mines the additional funds will be used to remodel the student center and remodel the wellness center. An exception was also granted to Northern and The University of South Dakota for an increase for Board Fees to meet contractual agreements with their food service provider.
"When setting tuition and fees the regents' bottom line is to maintain an affordable quality education option for students while meeting the financial needs of the universities. There are several factors that are measured to arrive at a set number," said Jewett. "Some of the factors that influence tuition and fee amounts are inflation, salary policy and benefits, and instructional costs."
"A change has been made in the way that the regents figure the inflationary adjustment in tuition and fees. The regents formerly used the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) to calculate for inflation, but with its future availability unkown the board made the decision to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It is the same approach used by the Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) which is the average change in the four quarters from FY2000 to FY2001," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "After inflation the next factor the regents consider in setting tuition and fees is salary and benefits. The regents have to adjust for the annual salary policy for state employees that is proposed by the governor and passed by the Legislature.
"About 45 percent of all regents' employees are supported by funds that are not appropriated from general funds of state government. Every time the state gives employees a raise or an increase in health insurance, we have to raise tuition and fees to cover the salaries and benefits for our employees who are not paid by state funds," said Perry.
The regents also made adjustments to the universities' fees. The University Support Fee (USF) supports instructional and administrative services. In prior years this fee varied at each university. The fee is now standardized for all of the universities due to a decision by the regents to a standardization plan. The standardization is the reason why increases at some institutions are greater than at others as the universities close the gap and achieve the same rate.
Unlike the USF, the General Activity Fee, which supports student union buildings and student organizations, reflects campus support for their different functions. Even though the students and institutional presidents recommend an increase, it cannot be charged until they have justified the increase to the satisfaction of the regents. Other fees set by the regents include residence hall room rent, meal plans, special fees related to specific majors, and system fees for such things as applications and transcripts.
Fee increases for FY03 include money to continue the plan to raise salaries for faculty and non-faculty exempt employees.
"The Regents decided to continue the salary competitiveness fee. It was originally adopted by the regents four years ago as a three-year plan," said Jewett. "The plan had a real impact on the universities. The university presidents communicated with the regents that the salary competitiveness fee allowed them to recruit new faculty and to reward those on campus who contribute the most to the education of their students. The Regents extended the fee for those reasons in fiscal year 2002 and did so in fiscal year 2003 for the same reasons."