South Dakota State University has set records for the number of degrees conferred the past five years. SDSU graduated 13,095 students, according to the South Dakota Board of Regents, from 2016-20 with a record 2,671 graduates in 2019.
The average of 2,619 graduates during the five-year period is more than 400 graduates per year higher than any other regental university. It also represents 38% of the total graduates from all public higher education institutions in South Dakota. Broken down to undergraduate degrees, SDSU awards just over 40% of the system’s four-year degrees.
Student success at SDSU is paramount and critical to the rising number of recent graduates. The university has posted record retention rates the past two years of students progressing from their freshman to sophomore year. The 2019 fall data showed an 81% retention rate, while 2020 produced an 80% retention. Imagine 2023 set a goal of 80% retention each year.
Another critical indicator driving the number of degrees conferred is students entering college with dual credits. Dual credit courses allow students a quicker path to graduation, resulting in a lower overall cost of attendance while at SDSU, in addition to opportunities for a second major or minor. The number of students taking dual credit courses from SDSU continues to increase with 808 enrolled in fall 2020, rising by 166 students from the year before.
SDSU students have more than 200 programs to choose from while pursuing the benefits of higher education. Students in health professions at SDSU received the most degrees with 3,082 earned during the past five years, or 45% of the degrees conferred in health professions throughout the regental system. Over 40% of the biological and biomedical degrees are awarded to SDSU students as are nearly 36% of the engineering degrees.
The university continues to fulfill its land-grant mission of providing the benefits of higher education to the citizens of South Dakota. More than 55% of SDSU’s student population calls the state of South Dakota home.
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