South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Retention and recruitment help boost SDSU’s enrollment numbers

Brayden Byers
Students commute to and from classes near Bailey Rotunda on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. SDSU recorded highest enrollment rate since the last five years.

A large class of first-year students and record retention rates have contributed to South Dakota State University’s highest enrollment in five years.

“We are very excited about having the third-largest class of first-year students ever at SDSU,” President Barry Dunn said, “and to surpass an 80% retention rate for the third time in four years is amazing.”

The 2,275 first-time students who enrolled at SDSU this year is the third largest freshman class behind the 2014 and 2013 freshmen. 1,152, which is just over 50% of the class, are from the state of South Dakota growing over 16% over the past two years and increasing 5% from last year.

Dennis Hedge, vice president for Academic Affairs, said outreach opportunities at schools have helped to promote the university. He quoted Dunn in that students can’t be what they can’t see.

“Those outreach opportunities are moments in time where we can show student what studying at South Dakota State University is all about” said Hedge, “so they can see it, dream it, do it.”

Students from Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska are the next three states with the highest number of first-time students to enroll at SDSU. Nebraska has shown the most growth with a more than 9% increase of freshman coming from the state.

Hedge explained that students see SDSU as an institution of choice and credits high level academic programs as a source of why students are picking SDSU over other institutions. Hedge continues by including the university’s size, global connections and the staff that wants to help students in as well.

The university retained 83% of students from their freshman to sophomore year setting a mark 2% higher than the previous record of 81% in 2020. Hedge is hopeful for the coming years saying that he hopes to continue having a healthy, thriving campus community.

“Retention is a critical metric that not only impacts enrollment but is also an indicator of academic quality and student success on a campus,” Dunn said.

Returning sophomore Reese McKenna, an animal science major, said she returned to SDSU because of the connections she made her freshman year and because she enjoys the animal science program at SDSU. McKenna said because of how hands on the animal science department she can get a deeper grasp on the concepts.

“I was super excited to continue my education and being able to build on the connections I had already made was even more exciting” said McKenna.

Among the 11,518 students, international student enrollment increased from 621 students to 702 with 1,243 graduate students. The amount of high school students taking courses from SDSU, including dual credit, increased as well totaling at 1,031.

“We are starting to stabilize some critical areas of campus in terms of enrollment, especially with the Graduate School and international students,” Dunn said. “It has taken time to understand the impact the pandemic had on those students, but students from around the world are interested in coming to Brookings.”

Dennis Hedge said with all the activities and sporting events on campus that he can’t remember a year where jackrabbit spirit has never been higher.

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About the Contributors
Serena Davis, Senior Reporter
Brayden Byers
Brayden Byers, Managing Editor
Managing Editor Brayden Byers is a junior Journalism major from Linton, North Dakota. He has a minor in Digital & Social Media. Brayden is also the Program Director and Sports Director for the campus radio station KSDJ 90.7 FM.

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