Miskimins: Fourteen South Dakota higher education facts

As the number of in-state high school graduates has dropped, the total enrollment has declined by 8.1% over the past five years.

Paul Miskimins
Paul Miskimins
Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic

Greetings to all District 20 residents. As you probably know, we are off and running in this year’s legislative session. Thanks again for allowing me to serve you as your representative in Pierre.

Health and Human services and Education are the two policy committees I have been appointed to serve on again this year. Since the number of bills has been somewhat limited, I thought I would share some information we received in a report from the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Brian Maher serves as the Executive Director and CEO. The Board oversees our state’s six public universities as well as the South Dakota School of the Deaf, and the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Maher was appointed to this role in June 2020. The Board of regents is composed of nine volunteers appointed by the governor and includes one student representative. Although there are six separate universities, they operate under one governance body, the Board of Regents.

South Dakota higher education facts:


  1. $2.1 billion in annual economic impact
  2. 12,354 jobs supported and sustained
  3. $74 million in local and state taxes
  4. 34,520 total students
  5. 4.2% are first generation college students
  6. 6,655 graduates per year
  7. 21,423 students from South Dakota attending
  8. 46 percent of students stay in South Dakota to live and work
  9. 79 percent of students receive financial aid
  10. 5,746 students enrolled in dual enrollment; 8,078 sources (189 schools participating)
  11. $168.5 million research impact generated and 974 jobs supported and sustained
  12. 338 agriculture and veterinary science graduates
  13. $300 billion in impact generated from alumni over their 40-year careers supporting 1.9 million jobs
  14. 104,937 alumni living and working in the state

As the number of in-state high school graduates has dropped, the total enrollment has declined by 8.1% over the past five years.
Senate Bill 44 was passed in 2020 in an effort to study and improve efficiency and cost savings in our university system. Many changes have come forward from these task forces and their subcommittees. Perhaps the most impactful will be the changes for the University Centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. West River will be a partnership between SDSU and Black Hills State University to consolidate and increase nursing students from 72 to 125 annualls.

In Sioux Falls, USD will also consolidate many health care studies and operate a much enhanced nursing curriculum.

Enough for now. Remember it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s always a privilege to have this opportunity to serve as your representative.

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