SD may raise cost of college dual-credit program

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – High school students’ enrollment in dual-credit classes has exceeded expectations in South Dakota, and the cost is adding up for the state’s six public universities.

The state Board of Regents will discuss options to raise the cost of the dual-credit program on Wednesday in Sioux Falls, the Argus Leader reported. A report prepared for the meeting said universities lost more than $700,000 in potential revenue through the program.

The program started in 2014 as a way to offer qualified high school students a head start on college by subsidizing credit costs. It also incentivizes more graduates to stay in South Dakota to complete their college degrees. More than 4,300 students have taken such courses so far.

Regents said they now want to revamp the program in order to bring in more money.

“Hindsight being 20/20, we probably would have set different parameters for the program,” said Paul Turman, vice president for academic affairs with the regents.

For high school students, one credit costs about $48 through the program. Students at state colleges typically pay almost $300 per credit.

South Dakota has a special agreement with state colleges to kick in another $98 per credit.

Regents are considering a new option to increase high school students’ costs to $57 per credit. Regents will also discuss whether to charge higher rates up front and offer a stipend for students who enroll full-time at a state university upon graduation.

Alternative plans include limiting the number of credits students can take through the program or altering revenue distribution.

Regents said they also may renegotiate state aid with the governor and Legislature.

The focus is on retaining dual-credit students at state colleges upon graduation, said Turman.

“If we start to see that, the price point becomes irrelevant,” he said.

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