South Dakota needs more people for more students

PIERRE, SD (KELO-AM) Fall enrollment at South Dakota's six public universities basically stayed flat, increasing by a total of only 92 students.

A big challenge persists. South Dakota is a low population state.

"That is the issue we are facing in this part of the country," says State Board of Regents Executive Director Mike Rush. Rush says schools must increase the so-called penetration rate, getting the word out to more students about quality higher education in South Dakota.

The total headcount at the state's six schools was 36,531, a minuscule increase of 0.25 percent. The enrollment of equivalent full time students actually decreased by 84 students.

"Hopefully our high school enrollments are gonna turnaround after 2018 and will see some growth just based on increased population," Rush tells KELO Radio News.

Rush says the Board of Regents remains committed to the state's goal to have 65 percent of 25-to-34 year old with some type of post secondary credential. Healthy enrollment. he says, is part of South Dakota's economic well-being.

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