VERMILLION, S.D. — Many northwest Iowa students hope their enrollment at the University of South Dakota over the past two years will save them several thousand dollars.
The South Dakota Board of Regents began extending in-state tuition to new Iowa freshmen and transfer students attending one of the state’s four public universities in the 2016-17 school year, the Sioux City Journal reported . The lower tuition rate doesn’t apply to Iowa students who began attending the university before the policy went into effect.
The University of South Dakota’s in-state tuition and fees are about $8,700 for the 2017-18 year, which is about $3,200 less than out-of-state tuition.
The university says the incentive has led to a nearly 70 percent increase in Iowa residents attending the university, with more than 300 students attending this academic year.
“We have been thrilled with the initial success,” said Scott Pohlson, the university’s vice president of enrollment, marketing and university relations.
How long the tuition policy will be in place depends on how Iowa students continue to respond to it, Pohlson said.
For years the university has attracted students from northwest Iowa since its main campus in Vermillion is close to the state’s border. The university began working to attract more students from Iowa after they started seeing a decrease in enrollment.
“We had seen a steady decline in Iowa students since fall 2011 of 25 percent and felt that a new approach to Iowa recruitment would be helpful in attracting top talent from Iowa,” Pohlson said.
Hunter Bryan graduated from Woodbury Central High School in Moville, Iowa, in 2016. He said the tuition rate will help him go to college without accumulating too much debt.
“It eases the stress of the whole college process,” Bryan said. “You don’t have to have the burden of money on your shoulders.”
The university also offers the in-state tuition rate to the children of alumni.