Tech Institutes: Placement remains high, slight bump in state fees
Monday’s meeting of the South Dakota Board of Education dealt almost exclusively with the work of the state’s four technical institutes.
The board first heard an update on the 2011 Placement Report, which shows that graduates of South Dakota’s technical programs continue to find success in the workforce. Graduates reported a cumulative employment rate of 96 percent only six months after completion of their studies, and 85 percent said they were employed in a training-related field. In the areas of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Health Science; and Marketing Sales and Service, 90 percent or more reported being employed in a training-related career.
“This is a good news for us, and good news for South Dakota,” said Southeast Tech President Jeff Holcomb. “Our graduates are getting highly-skilled, well-paying jobs right here in this state.”
The board approved a slight fee increase to keep pace with the rising costs of providing a high-quality, highly-technical education. There will be no change in the state maintenance and repair fee or the technology fee of $3 and $1 respectively. Tuition will increase to $99 per credit hour, up from $95 last year, and the facility fee will increase to $22, up $3 from last year. The program development fee of $1 was also reinstated. That will bring the base total cost per credit hour to $126, up $8 from last year.
“That increase is not quite as much as it has been in previous years,” said Mark Wilson, director of Learning and Instruction for the state Department of Education. “We never like raising the costs for our students, but when the quality of our programs is on the line, it becomes necessary to pass along those costs.”
The board also approved a certificate of compliance for facility bonding at the technical institutes. Approval of the certificate allows the technical institutes to continue building updates and campus construction, with established and pre-approved facility fees, in accordance with the Statewide Facility Plan. A pair of minor program changes also gained board approval.