SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Students graduating from the Sioux Falls School District would rather be a Coyote than Jackrabbit.
Between 2014 and 2021, 1,387 students graduating from Sioux Falls high schools enrolled at the University of South Dakota. That’s compared to 1,201 students enrolling at South Dakota State University, according to a report from the Sioux Falls School District.
The report states that over half of Sioux Falls high school graduates (55%) immediately enroll in a postsecondary education in the fall following their graduation. That’s a downturn from a peak of 59% of graduates enrolling in post-high school education in 2018 and 2019.
Those who choose to continue their education out-of-state increased from 15% to 17% between 2020 and 2021 graduates.
As the above chart shows, the number of Sioux Falls students choosing to stay in South Dakota for postsecondary education has been declining since 2016 when it peaked at 45%. In 2021, Sioux Falls graduates choosing to stay in state dropped below 40%, the only time that has happened in the years tracked in the study.
Recent Sioux Falls graduates are choosing in-state colleges and universities less than people who graduated in the early 2010s. Those that do choose to stay in the state either head to Vermillion or Brookings.
Southeast Technical College is the third most popular postsecondary option for Sioux Falls graduates followed by the city’s two private colleges, Augustana University and University of Sioux Falls.
For students looking to leave South Dakota, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is the more popular option. The number of students enrolling to be Golden Gophers is on par with those attending Dakota State University. The University of Nebraska — Lincoln is close behind the U of M with Minnesota State University — Mankato closing out the top 10.
The report goes on to quote the Bureau of Labor and Statistics saying that projections show that by 2026, 65% of all jobs will require some sort of postsecondary education. That could include an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or Doctoral or professional degree.
“Data shows earning a postsecondary degree is still a solid plan for a successful future,” the report summarizes.
According to available data, the fastest growing fields will be computer programming, health care, community services and other occupations requiring postsecondary education. That means employers will be looking for more than just a high school education in candidates, the report states.
The report concludes that 44.5% of the Sioux Falls class of 2014 has graduated from postsecondary education as of 2021. The remaining 55.5% of students are either no longer in the National Student Clearinghouse (27.4%), no longer enrolled in college (21.9%), still “persisting” (4.1%), returned after a “stop out” (1.6%), or just now enrolling in college (0.6%).