State employees who take college courses at one of three off-campus public university centers in South Dakota will soon receive the same tuition break as their counterparts pursuing coursework on campus.
Action taken by the South Dakota Board of Regents effectively extends a 50 percent tuition break to more state employees. The reduced tuition benefit was formerly available only to those state workers enrolled in courses delivered on campus at one of the six public universities.
Effective for the 2013-14 academic year that begins this summer, the tuition benefit will also be available to state employees taking courses at Capital University Center in Pierre, University Center-Sioux Falls, and University Center-Rapid City. The benefit covers both undergraduate and graduate courses, up to a maximum of 6 credit hours per semester.
“The state’s reduced tuition benefit has applied in the past only to courses taken on campus, which effectively limited its availability to employees who live in or near a city with a public university campus,” said Jack Warner, executive director and CEO of the South Dakota Board of Regents. “Now, with this change, we expect to see more state employees take advantage of continuing education through our off-campus university centers.”
The impact of the change equates to a tuition reduction of about $67 per undergraduate credit hour and $101 per graduate credit hour. Students are responsible for paying 100 percent of any fees associated with a course.
A significant number of state employees reside in Hughes, Minnehaha, and Pennington counties, the three counties where off-campus university centers are located. Taken together, 5,100 state government employees reside in those counties, which represent about 41 percent of all state workers.
“We believe there is potential for growth in this market and it will be a very worthwhile educational benefit for individuals and to the state,” Warner said.
The reduced tuition benefit is available to state employees who are South Dakota residents and who have been continuously employed by the state in a benefit-eligible position for at least one year. The benefit does not apply to university courses offered solely through Internet delivery.