Numbers stay above 12,500 mark for seventh straight year

By: SDSU and Brookings Register staff reports

Figures released today by the South Dakota Board of Regents show 12,527 students are enrolled at South Dakota State University, the seventh consecutive year more than 12,500 students have attended the institution.

First-time freshmen enrollment for the fall semester remained steady at 2,273, the same number as last year and the eighth-straight year the university reached its strategic goal of 2,200 to 2,300 freshmen. Domestic freshmen increased by 20, while international freshmen declined by the same number over last year.

“Overall, the university is pleased with its incoming freshmen class,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “The number of new students from within the region attending South Dakota State University is encouraging as we continue to be a top choice for those looking at an on-campus experience and at the potential career paths provided by a four-year degree.”

The fall 2017 enrollment of 12,527 is a 0.68 percent decrease from fall 2016 enrollment of 12,613 students, according to the SDSU website.

Incoming freshmen from South Dakota increased by 20 over last year, and the number of Iowa residents attending SDSU increased by 33 from fall 2016.

International students enrollment did decline by nearly 60 students this year, a trend that Dunn noted is common among nearly 40 percent of the universities in the United States, according to numbers tracked by the SDSU Office of International Affairs.

“Our domestic numbers were strong,” Dunn said. “We increased the number of domestic students attending the university as freshmen and also enrolling in our master’s programs. I believe that trend will continue and the international numbers will rebound in the next couple of years.”

The graduate enrollment includes 985 master’s and 303 Ph.D. students.

Dual credit, an opportunity for high school students to enroll in college courses at SDSU, continues to increase. This year 497 students enrolled in dual-credit courses while in high school compared to 425 last year, 373 the year before and 160 students in fall 2014.

Online credit hours increased by 676 to more than 17,600 this year, which is also up nearly 1,760 over the past two years.

SDSU continues to attract some of the region’s brightest students, university officials say. Admission data show that 44 percent of the incoming first-time students registered scores of 24 or higher on the ACT.

Undergraduate student retention from freshman to sophomore year is 77.2 percent.

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