"USD's enrollment growth can be attributed to many extraordinary factors such as our commitment to research as well as our internationally recognized faculty," said James W. Abbott, president of The University of South Dakota. "But overall our students recognize that their education at USD is an investment in opportunity – opportunities to pursue national and global scholarship opportunities, opportunities to enroll in signature academic programs, and opportunities to empower their future."

First-year retention of first-time, full-time freshmen is at its highest point in 16 years at USD and the freshman class at The U set lofty academic standards by achieving an average ACT assessment score of 23.24 compared to 23.06 for the same group in 2007 – eclipsing the national average of 21.1 (national ACT statistics are available on the ACT Web site at www.act.org/news/aapfacts.html). In fact, 46 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen had an ACT score of 24 or better compared to 45 percent in fall 2007 making it the fourth consecutive year that the average ACT composite score for first-time, full-time freshmen increased at USD.

"Not only are the ACT scores an improvement from the previous freshman class, but it demonstrates the academic preparation of these students," said Teddi A. Joyce, Ph.D., vice president of marketing, enrollment and student services. "We're very excited to welcome our new students to The University of South Dakota because it shows that our freshmen are committed to achieving academic success."

Total headcount at South Dakota’s six public universities increased almost 2.5 percent over a year ago with USD’s total enrollment significantly increasing the past two years from 8,746 students in fall 2006 to 9,291 students in 2008.

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