South Dakota Board of Regents announces increased enrollment

The South Dakota Board of Regents announced the enrollment numbers for the six public universities in the state Tuesday.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Board of Regents announced the enrollment numbers for the six public universities in the state Tuesday, which where up nearly 1% overall.

Northern State University saw a small increase of 0.1% for a total student population of 3,344. Junior Sam Fletcher says she feels like there’s more students on campus since she came to NSU in the fall of 2020.

”It’s really nice to see it growing and getting bigger. We used to only have like eight to ten people in the class, so it’s nice to see a lot more people in the class and different classes being offered because of the enrollment going higher. Honestly, it’s making all of our programs grow and get bigger,” said Fletcher.

South Dakota State University’s population decreased by 1.2%, but SDSU still has the largest student population overall of 11,331 total.

The University of South Dakota saw the largest increase of 4.1% for a total population of 9,856. A significant increase in USD’s population was from their international students.

”Our international numbers also look really good on that front as well. We had an increase of, I know this sounds crazy, 137% in our new international graduate students. So, that’s almost 160 students,” said Scott Pohlson, USD Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and University Relations.

USD also saw a historic high of students from Nebraska and near-record rates of students from Minnesota and Iowa. Pohlson says this is due to the low out-of-state tuition rates.

“When you grow up in Sioux City or even Omaha, I don’t think you’re really interested in paying some large out-of-state price point. It’s very competitive these days in terms of pricing and affordability, and so, we’re really thankful that the Board of Regents and all the other Board of Regents institutions themselves have been supportive in those rates,” said Pohlson.

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology had an increase of 3.1% for a total population of 2,493. Dakota State University also increased its population by 0.7% and their total headcount for the fall of 2022 comes in at 3,241.

Black Hills State University is the second of two schools within the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents to see a decrease. Their population compared to 2021 went down 3.2% for a total student population of 3,425.

One of the most impressive gains in 2022 was in first-year students. Across the six universities, there are 5,208 students that are new.

“First-time students, new to the system, is up 6.3%. That’s a phenomenal number when you look at that we’ve been on a decrease since 2017. So, that’s a great number,” said Dr. Brian Maher, the South Dakota Board of Regents Executive Director.

Although they are not governed by the Board of Regents, Lake Area Technical College and Augustana University also saw record increases in their student populations.

Lake Area increased their student population by 2.2% for a total of 2,238 students. Augustana University’s student population for the fall 2022 semester is 2,086.