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Fall enrollment stable at SD public universities

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota's Board of Regents has reported positive trends in the number of students enrolling in the state's six public universities and those leaving with degrees.

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Enrollment at South Dakota's six public universities has remained stable this fall, with 36,365 students attending classes, down just 65 students from last year. The number of full-time equivalent students is up by 313 over the year, the Regents reported Tuesday. Full-time equivalency is based on total credit hours generated by all students.

"Full-time equivalent students are an important indicator of growth for us," said Jack Warner, the Regents' executive director and CEO. "It tells us that we serve more students who take a heavier course load toward completion of their degree programs. Along with last week's news that we have seen stronger, double-digit growth in the number of students graduating from South Dakota public universities, we certainly consider this a positive trend."

The Board of Regents last week reported that the number of students graduating from the six public universities with an associate or bachelor's degree has increased by 33 percent since 2005.

Warner said student success initiatives such as freshmen success seminars, enhanced academic advising, and specialized math and writing centers are "a major focus" at all of the universities. Officials also work closely with high schools to identify and help students who need help before they even arrive on campus, he said.