Iowans who want to attend college at one of four public universities in South Dakota may soon get to pay in-state tuition.
The South Dakota Board of Regents is considering a proposal that would extend in-state, undergraduate tuition rates to new Iowa students. University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott says they used to have droves of students from northwest Iowa.
“We traditionally had a significant number of students from that area,” Abbott says. “In the ’90s, for whatever reason, out-of-state tuition was raised to 300% of in-state and our Iowa students just simply voted with their feet and went back home.”
While the out-of-state rates have since been reduced to 125% of in-state, he says that market has never been recovered. Abbott says the South Dakota schools have also had competition from the three public universities in Iowa.
“Their three major universities are being funded, in part, by how well they retain Iowa students,” Abbott says. “They’re really fighting for every Iowa student and as a result, we really need to fight back and try to bring some of those Iowans back.” Abbott says South Dakota intends to aggressively pursue students in Iowa, especially in northwest Iowa.
“We certainly know who’s graduating from high school and virtually every high school in that area,” Abbott says. “We’ll be reaching out to those students and telling them, ‘Look, we have a really great deal for you, a great education close to home yet far enough that you can maintain your independence and have a great education and a great social experience.'”
The Board of Regents vote would affect Dakota State University in Madison, Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota State University in Brookings and University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Officials at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City and Black Hills State University in Spearfish say they don’t believe joining in on the proposal would affect their enrollment rates.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)