DSU enrollment up 19 students
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
The South Dakota Board of Regents announced the fall 2013 enrollment numbers for the six state public universities on Tuesday (today). Dakota State University in Madison is up 19 students from last fall. DSU has 3,129 students compared to 3,110 last year at this time.|
Overall, head count enrollment is down very slightly across the state, by 65 students to a total of 36,365.
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology showed the largest increase of 216 students, up from 2,424 to 2,640. Black Hills State University grew from 4,407 to 4,464 students (up 57).
South Dakota State University showed a decrease of 29 students, while the University of South Dakota is down 49 and Northern State University has 279 fewer students than last fall.
The full-time equivalent student number (students taking 15 or more credits) is up by 313 students to a total of 26,781.7, a 1.18 percent increase.
"Full-time equivalent students are an important indicator of growth for us," said Regents Executive Director and CEO Jack Warner. "It tells us that we serve more students who take a heavier course load toward completion of their degree programs."
These students are more likely to graduate in four years, he said during a press conference.
"Along with last week's news that we have seen stronger, double-digit growth in the number of students graduating from South Dakota public universities, we certainly consider this a positive trend," Warner said.
Dakota State University President David Borofsky said he was excited that DSU's enrollment is up to 3,129 total students by headcount (a 0.61 percent increase) and up 0.75 percent with FTE students to 1,740. He was also pleased to announce retention numbers are up 9.4 percent from last year, to 69.3 percent.
Warner defined retention as keeping students from their freshman year into their sophomore year. In a DSU press release, Borofsky was quoted as saying this was due to "significant initiatives to create relationships." He praised faculty, staff and administrators for this relationship-building with the students, which are "one of the reasons why students say they stay at DSU."
SDSU reported their retention rate at 78.7 percent. USD's was 76 percent, and President Jim Abbott attributed that to an emphasis on professional advising.
Northern State in Aberdeen noted slight drops in both categories of students. NSU President Dr. James Smith blamed that on a decline in the number of part-time students. He speculated that was because they had dedicated a good deal of energy to retention, and possibly had not recruited part-time, non-degree seeking students as hard. Aberdeen's low unemployment rate could also be a factor, Smith said.
The economy may also account for the small increase in number of distance education students, which is at a "leveling increase," Warner said, going from 11,210 in 2012 to 11,336 this fall. Distance education courses are taken by two groups of students -- on-campus students, and adult off-campus students who take the courses because they are a convenient way to improve themselves for the labor market.
"The condition of the economy impacts people's choices in that regard," SDSU President David Chicoine said. When the economy sees improvement, potential part-time students may prefer that choice if they are working.
The full report numbers are available on the BOR website, www.sdbor.edu.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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