A South Dakota lawmaker proposes to make public college private

House Republican Leader, David Lust plans to introduce a bill allowing the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to become a private college.  Lust says the bill is not a mandate for change; rather, it would initiate a discussion.

Changing the school from public to private is a decision with potentially costly effects.  Executive Director of the Board of Regents, Jack Warner said if the college loses 74 million dollars in state aid, the cost of tuition will fall on students.

“It is an expensive thing to do when you have to pay for books, take time off from work to study and attend classes. And I think it will make it probably unattainable,” said Student, Karrie Johnson.

That’s kind of what public education is, to maintain an environment for people to come and study at a good value,” said Mining Engineering major, Akash Jaggi.

Warner said a reduction in quality and enrollment will reduce the school’s value.

But if the bill is passed and the college accepts, he said his fear would become reality.

But voters would have to approve an amendment to the state constitution.  According to the Constitution, the school must remain a public institution because it’s controlled by the Board of Regents.

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