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South Dakota Draws More College Freshmen Than it Loses to Elsewhere

PIERRE, S.D. – The latest analysis of where college freshmen end up attending school demonstrates South Dakota retains its status as a net importer of college freshmen, the South Dakota Board of Regents said this week.

Federal higher education data from fall 2014 showed that 1,433 South Dakota students went to out-of-state colleges and universities as freshmen, while 2,658 non-residents were drawn to South Dakota institutions during the same term, including 450 to the University of South Dakota. That is a net gain to South Dakota of 1,225 students.

This is good news for South Dakota, said Mike Rush, executive director and CEO for regents. “The ability to attract and retain college-educated workers often brings lasting economic and social benefits to a state,” said Rush. “That’s why states typically aspire to be ‘in the black’ with respect to the interstate exchange of college students. We are glad to be in that column.”

Migration patterns of college students have shown consistent and dramatic improvement in South Dakota over the past decade. The import/export data is examined every two years by Board of Regents’ staff and show that South Dakota has been a net importer of college students since 2004.

The freshmen migration analysis can be found on the Board of Regents website.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News