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South Dakota regents to mull public university tuition hikes

SPEARFISH (AP) -- Tuition and fees at South Dakota's six public universities would increase by an average of 2.9 percent next school year under one plan the state Board of Regents is set to consider next week.

SPEARFISH (AP) - Tuition and fees at South Dakota's six public universities would increase by an average of 2.9 percent next school year under one plan the state Board of Regents is set to consider next week.

The board, which oversees the state's public universities, will meet next Wednesday at Black Hills State University to discuss the proposals, including an option to raise tuition and fees for on-campus resident students by an average of 2.4 percent. The higher-cost proposal would encompass raising tuition rates at schools focusing on undergraduate and masters programs and students to match the system's three research universities.

The regents' goal is to provide the activities and experiences that make students' educations as valuable as possible and help retain them, said Mike Rush, the board's executive director and CEO.

"I think any increase is significant," he said. "The board's very sensitive to price increases."

The proposed increases would be 0.5 percent at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; 2.6 percent at South Dakota State University; and 3.7 percent at the University of South Dakota. The costlier option would include larger increases for the state's comprehensive schools: 2.5 percent at Dakota State University; 3.4 percent at Black Hills State University; and 5 percent at Northern State University.

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The higher-priced plan would mean the average cost of tuition and fees at a South Dakota public university for undergraduate resident students next school year would be $8,555.32, up from $8,317.50. The smaller option would be $8,515.00, an increase of $197.50.

Tuition rates were held flat for the 2016-2017 academic year after Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Legislature funded a tuition freeze for resident university students. Lawmakers this session dealt with lower-than-expected state revenues that resulted in budget cuts for the universities.

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