SDSU reports reduction in student debt from post-secondary education

SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – Tuition at most colleges across the country has skyrocketed, leaving students with more debt to pay off. However, this trend is not always the case.

South Dakota State University is actually reporting a drop in student debt for its most recent graduating class. It’s a trend they hope to see continue, and the school attributes that to affordable tuition and more financial aid options.

Kylee Schultz is a recent graduate of South Dakota State where she studied business economics. Originally from Pierre, in addition to staying at home, accessibility was important in his college search, which brought him to Brookings. Now, she lives and works in Sioux Falls, without the stress of paying off debts. Schultz works for the FDIC and got a job right out of college. Schultz credits SDSU for giving him the skills he needs for his career through hands-on learning in his classes.

“I felt blessed with my experience in college finance,” Schultz said. “I’ve been lucky enough to get some scholarships from local people and the local community and that’s been really helpful in keeping costs down. And on top of that, SDSU was an affordable place to go to school, I could actually graduate college completely debt free. “

In recent years, SDSU has seen a drop in average student debt after graduation, which they attribute to higher scholarships and lower tuition rates.

“We are monitoring this very closely because student access is at the forefront of our minds,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “We need to get them to a higher degree and into the workforce with as little debt as we can.”

Accessibility isn’t the only growing trend at SDSU. The state of South Dakota itself is remarkable. according to information provided by the South Dakota Board of GovernorsSouth Dakota students have lowest student loan balance in the nation. They also have the seventh lowest crime rate. This is partly due to legislation that offers more scholarships and a freeze tuition fees it is the third year.

“Next fall, students will be coming in at the same rate as they were three years ago, and that’s a big thing when you have inflation like we do, to be able to keep the cost of higher education pretty flat in a time of hyperinflation,” Dunn said. .

This is encouraging news for students graduating from high school, as debt is a frequent topic in their college search.

“Especially at 18, when you’re graduating from high school, it’s really hard to think about that, and I had this impression when I was looking at schools that this was going to be for me. There are options for people who are worried about the cost, and you can actually graduate without a lot of student debt,” Schultz said.

Shultz is not alone. Nearly a third of SDSU’s Class of 2022 completed their bachelor’s degree without federal debt (31%). South Dakota State reports that its tuition is 39% lower than the University of Minnesota, 24% lower than the University of Nebraska and 16% lower than North Dakota State University. Their average debt is falling ($22,000 last year) and their default rate (1%).

The total cost of higher education in South Dakota fell 0.6% last year, making it the only state in the region to show a downward trend.

As the student loan crisis in the United States becomes known, students are becoming more financially literate. It was especially useful for Schultz to be more financially literate.

“It’s one of the things that helped me the most in school. Find out what it costs, how to pay for it, and how it affects my education. I did a lot of research and that was a huge factor in helping me manage what it would cost me, and now that I’m out of college, I owe it to that financial literacy and doing that research. “

SDSU has responded positively to lower overall costs and reduced loan amounts after graduation. Dunn says this fall they had the largest class they’ve had in five years, and student retention has also increased significantly.

Dunn notes that dual credit courses have also contributed to a more accessible college experience, as taking courses in high school sometimes takes a semester or sometimes even a full year. Dunn is himself a former SDSU student and faculty member, and he takes great pride in leading the University and is humbled to serve as president.

Graduation from SDSU is less than a month away. This year’s class continues the trend of having less debt than last year and is well below the national average.

State institutions also offer financial aid resources such as scholarships, FAFSA assistance and on-campus jobs. They hope to keep higher education more affordable in the state for years to come.

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