SDBOR freezes in-state tuition, gives name to sports complex

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The South Dakota Board of Regents approved a slew of changes with direct impact on USD students at its meeting last week. From a tuition freeze to an official name for the new USD sports arena, here’s a breakdown of what students, faculty and the community can expect.

“The board meeting last week addressed many topics and initiatives. Above all, we were able to hold stable tuition and mandatory fee costs for resident students in the coming year, thanks to the tuition freeze approved this year by the state legislature,” said Jonelle Toman, director of communications for the SDBOR.

In-state students guaranteed a tuition freeze for upcoming year

Tuition for in-state students will remain the same for the next academic year at all regental schools.

“The importance of making sure all eligible South Dakotans can access higher education, while keeping costs affordable, cannot be overstated,” Regents President Randy Schaefer said.

The reason for the freeze is credited to the state Legislature and Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s push for additional state funding for higher education.

“We are very thankful for the Governor’s and lawmakers’ support this year on behalf of the public university system and its students,“ Schaefer said.

The freeze doesn’t apply to out-of-state students.

Incoming Iowa students to receive in-state tuition

High schoolers from the Hawkeye State will now have a cheaper option to come to some South Dakota public colleges, including USD, as Iowa students will now be offered in-state tuition.

It only applies to new undergraduate students, not current students. Iowa students will save $2,170.50 per year at USD.

The new deal also applies at Dakota State University, Northern State University and South Dakota State University.

USD enrollment data indicates Iowa students accounted for 15 percent of the freshmen class in 2010. Last year, it was only 11 percent.

This move “worries” Gary Steinke, president of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

“This is a very competitive environment,” Steinke said. “It’s concerning when institutions in bordering states are trying to entice Iowa students away from Iowa.”

USD’s vice president for enrollment Scott Pohlson said this is good for the university’s effort to maintain affordability in the Iowa market.

“Our hope is that Iowans see how much USD values their talents on our Vermillion campus,” Pohlson said.

Universities now able to offer multi-year contracts

The SDBOR will now allow schools to offer multi-year contracts to athletic directors, coaches and university presidents.

Previously, USD only had the ability to sign one-year contracts for non-faculty exempt employees, including highly competitive athletic positions and presidents.

“I don’t know why we couldn’t give a guy a three-year contract — other schools in our division are doing it. I think our state would want to compete. We’re at this level now, and our Legislature and state representatives should recognize that,” said former head coach Joe Glenn in a 2013 Volante interview.

This rule prevented USD from officially signing Glenn’s replacement, Bob Nielson. The former Western Illinois coach was announced as the Coyotes’ new head football coach in December, although Nielson had said he wanted a longer commitment from USD.

Multi-year contracts are fairly common in Division I schools. This change will help recruit staff, said Regents’ Executive Director Michael Rush.

“In order to remain competitive when we recruit, our institutions must be able to offer longerterm contracts for these positions,” Rush said.

This is a recruiting tool SDSU will likely use in finding a replacement for its mens’ basketball coach after Scott Nagy took a job in Ohio on Sunday.

USD approved to take over University Center operations

USD was given approval to take over the University Center in Sioux Falls. The change will allow UC-Sioux Falls to focus on two-year associate degree programs and bachelor degree completion.

Previously, the University Center allowed students to take classes from multiple courses from other state colleges. That will continue, but the operational structure will no longer fall under USD, SDSU and DSU, just USD.

Rush said this will help create a workforce that has more in-demand skills. They will also have an advisory council with local business leaders.

“Community input is essential as we produce more graduates for the highly educated workforce that is needed in the greater Sioux Falls area,” Rush said.

Officials from USD are expected to have more details on their plans in the coming weeks.

SDBOR meeting in brief:

  • The new USD sports arena will be named the Sanford Coyotes Sports Complex, which the Board approved. Sanford Health donated $20 million toward the project, which is expected to cover one-third of construction costs.
  • The new soccer complex will be called the First Bank & Trust Soccer Complex.
  • The Board gave approval for the new outdoor track to be called the Lillibridge Track Complex, named after donor John Lillibridge.
  • USD received the go-ahead to offer a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene online. The idea is to target a changing market for dental hydienge. Previously, an associate’s degree was the industry standard. However, the standard is expected to shift toward a bachelor’s of science degree. USD will be targeting those already with a two-year associate’s degree.
  • USD will be creating new certificate programs, which include: laboratory science, museum and achieves studies, reading interventionist and regulatory affairs. Certificates require fewer credits than a minor to complete.
  • Last week, Gov. Daugaard also signed HB1203, which will allow for better benefits for students in the National Guard. Beginning in the summer semester, those students will save an average of $141 per course.