South Dakota Board of Regents reports 4 years of declining enrollment


Enrollments at South Dakota’s six public universities fell for the fourth year in a row this fall, but to a lesser extent than last year.

The system saw a drop of 954 students in student numbers last year, down from 121 this year.

In an announcement Friday morning, the South Dakota Board of Regents considers the difference “largely unchanged” from last year, and Brian Maher, executive director and CEO, said the number of registrations was “substantially stable”.

However, over the past two decades, a review by Argus Leader of the Regents’ enrollment data shows that enrollment increased by nearly 10,000 students from 1999 to 2011. From 2011 to 2017, enrollments exceeded 36,000 and have declined every year since 2017.

The total enrollment of the six public universities is 33,445 this year, compared to 34,566 last year.

A review of full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollments, which is based on the total number of credit hours generated by all students in the regental system, however, shows a drop of 621 students from 2020. This year, the number of FTE is 23,964, compared to 24,586 in 2020.

“We are still seeing impacts from the ongoing pandemic,” Maher said. “While we are dedicated to providing a more normal higher education experience this fall, times are tough. Our public university system stands ready to meet this challenge head on, providing South Dakota with a well-trained workforce and engaged citizens. “

Here is a snapshot of where universities are going this fall.

South Dakota State University

2020 workforce: 11.405

Workforce 2021: 11,465

Enrollment increased by 60 students at SDSU.

The university reports that the number of graduate students has increased by more than 200 students and that retention of freshmen in sophomores remains high at 80%.

“We are certainly encouraged by the total SDSU registrations this year and the fact that we have seen an increase in membership,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. Retention is “a strong indication of the quality of education our students receive and the efforts of the university to ensure their success and keep them on track to graduate.”

The number of freshmen remained stable and transfer students increased by 30 from the previous year to 476. The number of graduate students increased by 208 to 1,406 students pursuing career opportunities. advanced education. The total number of credit hours fell 2.3% from the previous year.

More than 55% of the university’s total student body are residents of South Dakota, with 6,330 enrolled, an increase of 121 from the previous year. Dunn said the increase is a direct reflection of the university’s land granting mission.

The SDSU also continues to see an upward trend in the number of graduates with 2,505 degrees conferred in May, one of SDSU’s biggest promotions. Over the past three years, the average graduate class at SDSU has been 2,532 students, the highest three-year average on record.

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University of South Dakota

2020 workforce: 9,459

Workforce 2021: 9,464

Enrollment increased by five students to USD.

The trend still reflects the reality of providing an educational experience in the midst of a global pandemic, US President Sheila Gestring said in a statement on Thursday.

Overall USD enrollments were relatively stable, she said, adding that the university has seen growth in graduate and vocational schools, and recorded record growth for incoming international students.

“Especially when taken against the backdrop of national listing trends, the status of USD listings is encouraging,” Gestring said. “We have welcomed a large class of new students to our Coyote community, and we continue to deliver the high quality educational experience for which USD is known.”

Black Hills State University

2020 workforce: 3,608

Workforce 2021: 3,539

Enrollment fell by 69 students at BHSU. BHSU did not have a press release or other comments on their registration numbers at the time of publication.

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Northern State University

2020 workforce: 3 431

Workforce 2021: 3,340

Enrollment fell by 91 students at NSU.

While enrollment is down 2.7% from last fall, NSU reports that FTEs are only down 1%, which is an indicator that students are taking more credits.

“This is a very important step for Northern as we have worked hard to increase our total number of student credit hours,” spokesman Justin Fraase said in a statement.

NSU’s retention rate fell for the first time in several years, Fraase said, to 68%, from 76% in 2020, the lowest rate since 2014. Fraase attributes this to factors related to the pandemic and to an impact on the number of international students, with 69 international students this fall against 158 ​​in 2019.

“While not all of our numbers are positive, we have had incredible success this year, especially in terms of growing our graduate and pre-professional programs,” said NSU President Neal Schnoor. “I am extremely proud of our registration team and all of our faculty and staff for their commitment to recruiting students in the North and supporting their success.

The university also reports seeing an increase in the number of graduate students and a “dramatic increase” in enrollment in pre-vocational programs.

Credit hours for graduate students increased 7% from 2020, with 204 graduate students seeking a degree, the highest number since 2014.

In undergraduate programs, pre-professional programs have seen growth, with 79 students in fall 2021, up from 15 in 2020.

Dakota State University

2020 workforce: 3 186

Workforce 2021: 3 219

Enrollment increased by 33 students at DSU.

DSU President José-Marie Griffiths said COVID-19 continues to impact enrollment across the country, but DSU sees dropping numbers climb back to “the university’s historic trajectory” .

The university has grown in 17 of the past 20 years. “This reflects the quality of our programs and their relevance to the workplace today and into the future,” Griffiths said in a statement.

Like SDSU, DSU reports that the number of students in the state attending DSU has increased this year from 1,861 to 1,885.

“Students in our state are realizing the benefits of studying in the state of Dakota,” Griffiths said. “Our cyber-centric majors in education, arts and sciences, business and information systems, and computer and cyberscience provide our students with distinctive skills and credentials that are viable for their careers.”

DSU students come from 48 states and 52 countries, the university reports. The number of international students online or on campus has grown to 101 students, from 68 last year.

South Dakota Mines

2020 workforce: 2,477

Workforce 2021: 2,418

Enrollment fell by 59 students at the Mines.

The university reports that although the overall enrollment is down, the number of incoming freshmen has increased by 8%, from 455 in 2020 to 491 this fall.

“Our nation is in dire need of scientists and engineers,” Mining President Jim Rankin said in a statement. “Our students are the problem solvers of tomorrow. Our graduates become industry leaders who advance the frontier of innovation.

While many universities across the country struggle to maintain enrollment as the overall high school student population shrinks, “the relatively stable numbers over the past few years speak to the value of a mining degree.” spokesman Mike Ray said in a press release.

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