Enrollment drops at all but two S.D. public universities

Overall enrollment at South Dakota’s six public universities is down about 2 percent full-time equivalent students, according to the South Dakota Board of Regents.

The number of full-time equivalent students for the fall 2018 term—based on total credit hours generated by all students within the regents’ system—was down by 540.8 students to a total of 26,092.9. Total headcount at the six public universities was 35,737, a decline of 2.5 percent or 925 students over last year.

The exception is Dakota State University, which grew its headcount by 2.27 percent and its FTE by 2.42 percent, or 48 students. USD grew its FTE count by 23 students.

Otherwise, enrollment was down.

“In a strong economy, potential students often choose work over education, particularly if they simply do not have the sources of money and support they need,” said Paul Beran, the regents’ executive director and CEO.

“Many of our students struggle with the costs of a college education. That’s why we are developing plans to present to the governor and legislature for scholarship and need-based financial aid support that will make higher education a reality for more students.”

DSU, now at nearly 3,400 students, has increased enrollment 18 out of the last 20 years, the school said in a statement.

“Dakota State University’s growth is indicative of many strengths — quality programs of study, highly trained faculty, supportive staff, and a motivated student body – all of which are built on the unique, technology-centric mission of DSU,” said president José-Marie Griffiths.

“We are no longer simply a small teacher’s college on the prairie. Two decades of enrollment growth means our programs have grown and developed as well, through the efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff, and high-achieving students.”

Much of the growth is in The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. It’s grown by 9 percent, or 95 students, from last fall. Four in ten of those are female students studying the cyber sciences.

The largest increase for fall 2018 is a 13 percent hike in graduate student enrollment over last year. DSU offers two doctoral programs, seven master’s programs, and five graduate certificates.

“Our graduate programs are highly desirable because of a strong faculty presence and a fast-growing DSU reputation for providing excellent graduate opportunities,” said Dr. Mark Hawkes, dean of graduate studies and research.

The Madison Cyber Labs, scheduled to open late next summer, will continue to enhance the school’s reputation, Griffiths said.

Have you seen DSU lately? Prepare to be amazed by the changes

Enrollment drops at all but two S.D. public universities

Enrollment is down at most public universities in South Dakota this fall — but not these two.

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