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SD Student Debt Growing, But Not as Fast as in Other States or at Private Campuses

The South Dakota Board of Regents heard a bad-news/good-news report on student debt at their meeting this week in Spearfish.

The bad news: Average per-student debt has climbed steadily over the past decade, from $19,724 in 2005 to $26,023 in 2014.

The good news: Student debt is apparently going up faster in other states, and the percent of South Dakota students graduating with debt has declined from 82% to 69%:

Student Debt in South Dakota—from SDBOR, Dec. 2015
Student Debt in South Dakota—from SDBOR, Dec. 2015

In 2005, South Dakota graduates had the eighth highest average student debt, and we had the highest percentage of students graduating with debt. We still have the sixth-highest percentage of students with debt, but the average amount per student now ranks 31st in the nation.

Adjust the dollars for inflation, and the average amount of student debt for Regental campus grads has stayed relatively flat, while grads from our private campuses have seen their average debt grow faster than inflation:

Average SD student debate, private vs. public campus graduates, inflation-adjusted, 2005–2014. SDBOR, Dec. 2015.
Average SD student debate, private vs. public campus graduates, inflation-adjusted, 2005–2014. SDBOR, Dec. 2015.

(Oh, don’t forget: the Augustana University Republicans would still like you to pay their airfare to CPAC.)

The Regents don’t say in their report what factors, state or national, might be improving our debt rankings. Still, more than two-thirds of our South Dakota graduates are heading for work already in the hole.


  1. Richard Schriever 2015-12-03 21:29

    The Augie CR s must be a small and exclusive group.

  2. Jana 2015-12-03 22:34

    Funny, over at Pity Pat’s site he’s railing on Ann Tornberg for soliciting donations for the party, but then shills for the Augie Republicans with their hand out so they can go to CPAC and learn about self-reliance.

    Those smart kids at Augie will also join the chorus at CPAC to shriek at the deficit and government spending…meanwhile…Pat Powers is saluting John Thune for spending that deficit money in SD.

    Oh well…that’s life in South Dakota where hypocrisy and corruption are the pride of the ruling party.

  3. leslie 2015-12-04 00:27

    aren’t most catholics dems?

  4. grudznick 2015-12-04 00:53

    I think statistics show that most Catholics are hardcore Republicans.

  5. mhs 2015-12-04 05:39

    CH: did the data break out the private sector between non- and for-profit providers? Wonder how much the boom in the CO Tech, Globe, NAU and other for-profit programs during the Great Recession drove the spike? DOE has really been hammering the the for-profit sector for over-leveraging students.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-04 05:52

    MHS: the data only considered the non-profit private schools. Perhaps the Regents think the for-profit schools are beneath their regard. ;-)

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-04 06:03

    Oh, Richard, the Augie CRs aren’t exclusive: they’ll take anybody’s money.

    Leslie, the Pope is clearly not Republican. But Grudz, Pew Research’s stats say that the R-D-I split among U.S. Catholics is 24-33-37. Among white non-Hispanic Catholics, the split is 31-30-36. Among Hispanic Catholics, it’s 12-38-41. Black Protestants, Jews, atheists and agnostics are heavily non-Republican.

    The nationwide R-D-I split is 23-32-39.

    White non-Hispanic mainline Protestants (who should be ELCA Augustana’s main market) split 30-26-38. The Augie Dems have not yet contacted me with a fundraising pitch for their spring trip.

  8. mike from iowa 2015-12-04 08:59

    How much debt comes from massive online diploma mills scams?

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