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Majors & Degrees

Dakota State’s enrollment numbers on the rise

September 20, 2017

To say that enrollment at Dakota State University is on the rise is an understatement.

Fall 2017 numbers are up in numerous categories – overall headcount, freshmen and transfer students, online and on-campus students, and credit hours taken. These increases contrast the national trend for colleges and universities. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, as of 2017, U.S. postsecondary colleges and universities have about 1.5 million fewer students than in 2014, an eight percent drop in enrollment.

The South Dakota data, released by the Board of Regents today (Sept. 20), show a four percent increase in DSU’s headcount numbers, from 3,190 in the fall of 2016 to 3,307 for fall of 2017. Of those, 345 are graduate students. These numbers include both full-time and part-time students.

These students are taking an increasing number of credit hours, up to 29,364 for Fall 2017, which results in a five percent increase in DSU’s full-time equivalent (FTE) number, a statistic based on the total credit hours generated by all students within an institution.

Increases are seen across the four colleges of DSU. In the Beacom College of Computing and Cyber Sciences, there is an eight percent enrollment gain from last fall. The College of Arts and Sciences saw a seven percent increase in enrollment from Fall 2016 to Fall 2017, and the College of Business and Information Systems has had a six percent increase. The number of new students in elementary education and special education in DSU’s heritage mission of education is up almost 14 percent from Fall 2016.

“While Dakota State’s affordability and safe campus environment contribute to DSU being a desirable choice for many students, much of the growth we see is driven by the employment opportunities in cyber fields,” said Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths. “Students realize the potential available to them in these careers, and see that DSU is a leader in cyber,” she stated.

“Because of the prescient vision of those who added the technology focus to Dakota State University’s mission in 1984, and the efforts of Dakota State’s dedicated faculty and staff who have designed and implemented the many quality programs at DSU, we now offer relevant curricula in a wide array of technology-centric programs. This draws intelligent, motivated students to the university,” she stated.

Griffiths expects the institution’s numbers to continue to rise in future years, after a major announcement made at the August 20, 2017 grand opening ceremony for the new Beacom Institute of Technology. The university is set to receive $60 million for new program development, new scholarships, and construction of a technology research and development facility called the Madison Cyber Labs. These monies will come from a $30 million donation from philanthropists Miles and Lisa Beacom and Denny Sanford, $10 million from the South Dakota Future Fund, and $20 million from federal sources. 

“These funds will provide for a range of new possibilities, new opportunities, and new futures for the institution and its students. Dakota State University is rising,” said Griffiths.

BY THE NUMBERS at DSU (since 2014)

  • Freshmen students -- 16 percent increase from Fall 2016; a 31 percent increase from Fall 2014 to Fall 2017. Transfer student numbers increased six percent since Fall 2016; 12 percent since Fall 2014.
  • Retention (the rate at which students remain at DSU to continue their education) is 72 percent, the third straight year about above the university’s goal of 70 percent. The national average retention rate is 62 percent.
  • Number of on-campus undergraduate students (those taking at least one class in Madison) – five percent increase from Fall 2016, an 11 percent increase since 2014.
  • Number of students taking only online courses -- five percent increase from Fall 2016, to 1,331 students.
  • High school students taking online-only dual credit courses, or concurrent courses in their schools, has increased 106 percent since Fall 2014.
  • DSU student demographics – Students come from 64 of South Dakota’s 66 counties, and from all 50 states. There are also 99 international students with nonresident alien status, from 30 countries enrolled at DSU this fall. That number grows to 54 countries when including all students enrolled at DSU who were not born in the U.S., those with an immigration status of permanent resident, jay treaty, pending permanent residency, student visa or refugee/asylee status.
  • Residence hall occupancy -- 94 percent, with the additional beds in the new Courtyard Hall. DSU saw an eight percent increase in the number students requesting rooms in on-campus residence halls for Fall, 2017.    

More details on the South Dakota Board of Regents enrollment numbers can be found at sdbor.edu. Graphic representations of these DSU data, in addition to the one attached, are available upon request.