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DSU announces enrollment gains for Fall ‘21

September 24, 2021

Student enrollment at Dakota State University is up this fall, to 3,219 students. This is a 1.04% increase in headcount, compared to Fall 2020 enrollment, when 3,186 students were taking classes with the Madison, S.D. university. On campus only student numbers are 1,287; internet only student numbers increased by 1.55% for undergraduate students.

“COVID-19 has had -- and continues to have -- an impact on university enrollment numbers across the country, yet we are pleased to see our fall numbers rising back towards the university’s historic trajectory,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths, noting that the university has seen growth in 17 of the last 20 years. “This reflects on the quality of our programs and their relevance to the workplace of today, and of tomorrow,” she stated.

South Dakota Resident Students on the Rise

The number of South Dakota resident students attending Dakota State also increased by 1.29%, to 1,885 from 1,861. Specifically, resident undergraduates increased by 1.2%; resident graduate students increased by 2.75%.

“Students in our state are realizing the benefits of studying at Dakota State. Our cyber-centric majors in education, arts and sciences, business and information systems, and computer and cyber sciences provide our students with distinctive skills and credentials that are viable for their careers,” Griffiths said. The most recent outcomes report shows graduates have a 99% placement in their careers, or advanced education opportunities.

This fall, the South Dakota resident students are from 61 of the state’s 66 counties; there are students from 48 states total. Students also come from 52 countries. The number of international students, online or on campus, has risen to 101 students, compared to 68 students in fall 2020. This is a 55.4% increase for international undergraduate students; international graduate student numbers are up 92%.

Graduate Student Increases

Total graduate student numbers continue to rise, as they have in recent years. There are 468 graduate students this fall, up almost 5% from last year, with a 6.34% increase in credits generated by those students. The number of graduate students on campus increased by 58.7%, and those on-campus graduate students are taking 75% more credits.

Retention Numbers

Retention numbers are also on the rise. Retention is defined as the number of first-time, full-time, baccalaureate degree-seeking students who return for the following fall term. First-time, full-time retention for the Fall 2020 cohort was 72.1%, compared to 71.4% for the Fall 2019 cohort.

Residence Hall Occupancy

The number of students living in residence halls has increased 2.2% (up to 770 from 753 in Fall 2020). This has resulted in an occupancy rate of 83%; however, when factoring in beds set aside for COVID mitigation, the effective occupancy rate is 97%. Given that the university’s newest facility, the 122-bed Residence Village, opened this fall, this indicates more students are choosing to stay on campus.

Full-Time Equivalent Numbers

The number of graduate Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) numbers (based on total credit hours generated by all students) is up 6.32%; there was a decrease in FTEs for undergraduate students on campus for Fall 2021. Griffiths attributes this to the fact that due to the uncertainty with the pandemic, some students may be choosing to explore the college experience by taking fewer credits. However, over the last 10 years, the average percentage of DSU students taking a full-time load based on FTE has increased 5%.

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