VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – The fall semester brought increased enrollment to all of South Dakota’s universities.
At the University of South Dakota, there are just over four percent more students on campus versus last year.
This year, the University of South Dakota saw an almost eight percent growth in first-time, full-time students.
Breaking the numbers down, there’s record high enrollment from Nebraska. The incoming class of international students is the largest in USD’s history. And new graduate student enrollment is up over 17 percent.
“Specifically, the growth on the graduate side was in the computer science program, which is great. We’ve been working in artificial intelligence, we’ve got some great faculty members that are working on that piece,” Scott Pohlson, VP of enrollment, said.
“The business school, law school, medical school, the graduate level health professions — those have always been staples for us and there’s always been significant interest.” USD President Sheila Gestring said.
Gestring says they actually had to turn away 20 graduate students because there wasn’t enough housing due to renovation on some of the dorms. That’s a challenge they’ll have to combat in upcoming semesters as well.
“We haven’t renovated our dorms, not significantly and certainly not on the interior since they were built,” Gestring said.
Brookman Hall will be torn down, but the university has an ongoing five-year project to update the other dorms.
“We’re in conversations with local hotels about, how might we lease up your hotel if we have the same sort of overflow,” Gestring said.
The university hopes to continue seeing growth in the coming years.
“The pandemic was difficult when it comes to enrollment and there were a lot of things that were outside of our control. So now that there are some more things that are in our control, I think it’s great that the campus has bought into that and we’ve got the pricing right. So there’s just a lot of things that are working.” Pohlson said.
This was also the first year students in South Dakota could get the needs-based Freedom Scholarship, which Gestring and Pohlson say were big factors in helping more students afford higher education.