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SDSU enrollment is 12,107

Figures released today by the South Dakota Board of Regents show 12,107 students are enrolled at South Dakota State University for the 2018-19 academic year.

The total is down from last year’s enrollment of 12,527, but marks the 10th consecutive year SDSU has had an enrollment over 12,000 students.

“Certainly experiencing a decline in enrollment is not what we hoped, but we continue to position the university for a strong future” said President Barry Dunn. “The implementation of our new strategic plan, Imagine 2023, and launch of our strategic enrollment management plan this fall will provide the direction and momentum to move SDSU forward both in maintaining quality academic programs and enrollment.”

Dunn noted the strategic enrollment management plan emphasizes growth through effective student recruitment, retention and success initiatives consistent with Imagine 2023, the university’s five-year strategic plan. The strategic enrollment plan focuses on five key themes of promotion of SDSU, fiscal health and financial aid, quality academic programs and experiences, student success and diversity.

“The roadmap this plan provides will align university resources to best serve our state and region,” Dunn said. “Recruiting, retaining and ultimately graduating more students to make a difference in the world involves everyone at the university and we welcome that opportunity.”

The university has already started implementing pieces of the plan that includes expanding the reach and depth of prospective student recruitment in the state of South Dakota and other markets. The SDSU Foundation, through the efforts of generous donors, has contributed additional scholarship dollars to award to students.

According to the BOR numbers, 48 percent of the enrollment decline at SDSU was from a drop in international students and transfer students. First-time freshmen dropped 92 students from last year to 2,181, but still within range of the university’s strategic target of 2,200 first-time freshmen each year.

“Overall, our incoming class of first-time students remains relatively strong,” Dunn said. “Nationally, universities have experienced declines in international students and also transfers. The strength of the overall economy, particularly in South Dakota, has impacted students’ interest in transferring to obtain a four-year degree. We have already begun initiatives that will help attract and retain more students to our university.”

One area of increase in student enrollment was the number of dual-credit students. Dual credit is an opportunity for high school students to enroll in college courses at SDSU. This year, 622 students enrolled in dual-credit courses while in high school compared to 497 last year.

To read the SDBOR news release, visit