Regents craft FY06 budget request

Regents craft FY06 budget request The South Dakota Board of Regents has identified four ongoing funding priorities in its FY06 budget request, which will be submitted to Gov. Mike Rounds.

The regents will request $155.3 million in state general funds next year, a $7 million increase, or 4.8 percent, over the current year's budget.

The regents settled on these four ongoing budget priorities for next year:

* To build the state's research and graduate programs infrastructure, supporting the public universities' ability to develop competitive research and Ph.D. programs;

* To adequately fund the growing cost of utilities;

* To cover the inflationary costs of operating expenses on the campuses; and

* To support delivery of programs to students attending off-campus locations.

The support the state's new emphasis on promoting and commercializing university–level research, the regents recommended an additional #2 million to increase the number of graduate research assistants and be competitive for the best student talent in the nation. Another $1 million is targeted to start up doctoral-level programs in subject areas that support the state's economic development and research initiative.

"These are the next steps in building a stronger foundation for South Dakota to grow its research and graduate programs," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett. "We need to provide more quality student support in science and technology research, as well as increase graduate student stipends to become nationally competitive."

The board's budget request also calls for $2.7 million more to address skyrocketing utility costs at the institutions, and about $356,500 to help meet inflation on general operating expenses at the universities and special schools.

The regents are seeking $800,000 to help buy down the cost of tuition on general education courses offered at off-campus locations, including Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre. Students at off-campus educational centers pay a higher self-support tuition rate than what most on-campus students pay. In addition, $150,000 is sought for Black Hills State University and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to deliver courses and programs collaboratively in western South Dakota.

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