PIERRE, S.D. – Ensuring that higher education remains affordable continues to be the primary focus for the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) and its institutions. Yesterday, during the July meeting, the board discussed their budget priorities for the 2025 fiscal year; a tuition freeze for South Dakota students tops the list again this year.

“South Dakota’s public universities have always prioritized affordability for all, and over the past three years, our students have not seen a rise in tuition.  In an increasingly competitive higher-education environment, it’s imperative that we reduce as many barriers to entry as possible, and affordability is a big one,” said BOR Executive Director Nathan Lukkes.  “Our public universities play a vital role in attracting and retaining talent in our great state, helping to fuel the workforce pipeline and drive our economy forward.”

As a result of the legislature and governor’s efforts over the past two years, BOR secured general fund increases for FY23 and FY24. This funding allowed a freeze on tuition and fees while granting BOR employees competitive salary increases. The initial freeze on tuition in FY22 was fully financed by each university. These actions help South Dakota’s public universities attract and retain not only students but also faculty and staff, who are essential to the success of our universities.

“A tuition freeze is critical in promoting economic development in South Dakota and ensuring that all individuals have access to the education and training they need to succeed,” said Board President Tim Rave. “Our board is committed to this initiative, and we hope our South Dakota lawmakers will continue to support these efforts.”

Additional budget requests directly align with our state’s workforce demands, including one-time funding to develop a South Dakota Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology and to expand the current Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway program.  The Board will also propose base funding for a Center for Civic Engagement. This system-wide initiative will showcase speakers and opportunities for students to engage with various levels of government.

BOR public universities are dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality education, and yesterday’s actions help set a foundation for the economic success of South Dakota.