SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If all 34,370 students enrolled in South Dakota’s public universities were on one campus, it would be the state’s third largest city.

Dakota State University’s enrollment topped 3,500 which is more than half the size of the city of Madison’s estimated population of about 6,000. The figure from the South Dakota Board of Regents includes all students. The full-time equivalent enrollment is 2,173.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into our strategic marketing campaign,” said DSU president Jose-Marie Griffiths. DSU is in the midst of a five-year plan to expand cyber research in the. It’s a $90 million investment that includes a lab facility in Sioux Falls.

Griffiths said DSU is charged with the goal of increasing enrollment for jobs that will be created with cyber research expansion as well as other technology jobs that exist now, and those that will be created in the future.

“We are at the cutting edge not (just real time) for today but for several years into the future…,” Griffiths said. DSU is intentional in sharing that message with potential students, she said.

“We wanted to see growth but you never know until the final census,” Griffiths said.

DSU posted an 8.3% increase in overall enrollment.

Northern State University in Aberdeen posted the second highest overall student enrollment increase at 5.3%, according to the BOR.

Marcus Garstecki, chief enrollment officer at NSU, also cited strategic recruiting and retention efforts.

NSU reached out to “…stakeholders throughout our campus and really the community to help put together what the right approach was to recruiting traditional and nontraditional students,” Garstecki said.

Points of emphasis included the quality of faculty and personalized support services for students, Garstecki said.

The overall count of 34,370 is a 2% increase system wide over 2022. Five universities had increases in enrollment. The highest was at 8.3% at DSU, followed by 5.3% at Northern State, 1.5% at Blacks Hills State, 1.5% at South Dakota State, 0.1% at the University of South Dakota. The enrollment at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology was at 0%.

The overall enrollment in the system is 34,470 and that can be broken into the FTE count.

“The FTE count takes the number of credit hours and applies that figure to the overall student headcount. A full-time workload is considered 15 credit hours for undergraduates, 12 credit hours for master’s and doctoral degrees, 15 credits for law students, and 19 credits for medical students,” Shuree Mortenson of the BOR said in an email to KELOLAND News.

The FTE count in the BOR system is 24,463. 

“We saw a number of areas that helped us grow across the board, that was really exciting for us because it was a truly campus wide effort,” Garstecki said. of NSU.

The number of all first-time or freshman students increased by 6.7% from 2022 to 319. That was the highest increase in the system.

DSU had an increase of 6.2% in all first time or freshman students from the fall of 2022. There are 395 students in that category.

The system continued a trend in an increase of those first-time or freshman students, according to the BOR. There are 5,341 first year or freshmen which is a 2.6% increase over 2022. The 2022 figure was a 6% increase over 2021.

System wide, 61% of the students are South Dakota residents while 39% are nonresidents, according to the BOR.

At DSU, the percentage of students from South Dakota increased by 9.36%.

“We did see growth in instate enrollment,” Garstecki said of NSU.

South Dakota State University in Brookings remains the largest university in the system. The FTE enrollment was 9,239 this fall. The overall enrollment is 11,505.

The University of South Dakota in Vermillion has a FTE enrollment of 7,165. The overall enrollment is 9,868.

Black Hills State in Spearfish has a FTE enrollment of 2,105 with an overall enrollment of 3,475.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City has a FTE enrollment of 2,056 with an overall enrollment of 2,492.