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Sioux Falls Provides 20% of New SDSU Freshpeople, 33% of USD’s

I found a puzzling statement in that Sioux Falls paper’s report on a conference that leaders from Sioux Falls and South Dakota State University held yesterday to highlight the importance of South Dakota’s biggest university to South Dakota’s biggest city:

Sioux Falls and South Dakota State University have something of a symbiotic relationship.

That is, a majority of SDSU students come to the campus in Brookings from the city, and when those students graduate, most of them will come back to Sioux Falls to live and work.

This was the overarching theme of the SDSU Sioux Falls Academy held Tuesday downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn, a chance for university administrators and city officials to meet, greet and continue to strategize a long-term relationship between the state’s largest city and the state’s largest public university [Morgan Matzen and Trevor J. Mitchell, “South Dakota State University, Sioux Falls Officials Meet to Strategize Long-Term Relationship,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2021.07.13].

The majority of SDSU students come from Sioux Falls? Hmmm… South Dakota residents make up 55% of SDSU students, so for a majority of SDSU students to come from Sioux Falls, 10 out of 11 South Dakotans attending SDSU would have to come from Sioux Falls. When I tally up 2019 grads from each Sioux Falls high school (including the privates, and let’s throw in Harrisburg, since most of their students come from Sioux Falls), I find that only 195 of them went to SDSU. Out of 977 total 2019 South Dakota high school graduates who enrolled at SDSU, that’s just less than 20%.

More 2019 Sioux Falls graduates, 228, went the opposite direction on I-29 to USD. Those young ‘Yotes made up more than 33% of the 683 total 2019 South Dakota high school graduates who chose Vermillion for their undergraduate studies.

Thus, looking just at new high school graduates, it appears that Sioux Falls students make up a fifth of SDSU’s new enrollments and a third of USD’s.

The idea that Sioux Falls and SDSU depend on each other for growth and success is certainly correct. But as far as actual enrollment figures indicate, USD depends more on Sioux Falls for new freshpeople than SDSU, and neither university’s incomers consist of a majority of Sioux Fallsians.


  1. Mark Anderson 2021-07-14 17:38

    I always figured that cowbell state got less students from the cities than the U. Look at the majors and the graduate degrees and I didn’t use the derogatory term moo U either.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-07-14 17:44

    I was only half-liberal until I went to Vermillion.

    It was during Vietnam and my draft number came up #14.

    Molded me!

  3. Richard Schriever 2021-07-14 18:26

    I was #87 Porter, the year the draft law expired when they got to number 83, and didn’t reinstate it until it was up to around #154. The year the draft skipped the eligible. That’s the best piece of luck I’ve had my whole life.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-07-14 19:37

    Very lucky for you, Richard. Couldn’t happen to a better guy. lol

    Here’s mine.

    -Had to drop out of USD
    -Took my Army physical, which included a Sioux Falls ladies appreciation night for future soldiers at the Mocamba Club.
    -Got my orders to report and was waiting. (My mother offered to pay my way for a while if I wanted to go to Canada, but I said “What the hell. I can type 80 wpm, so I’ll get a desk job, anyway.”
    -A week before I had to leave, Nixon proclaimed USA wouldn’t be taking anymore draftees.
    -Saved by the hair on my chinny chin chin.

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-07-14 19:50

    Well Porter and Richard we must be the same age, we had a party in Vermin town and I had the highest number like 96 or something. It was a weekend party to remember. I went with a couple of the boys who had in the 30s to get their tests feeling like a king. I don’t believe anyone had to go.

  6. Porter Lansing 2021-07-14 20:54

    Mark – I had to drop out and take my physical in ’72. Thinking I’d dodged a bullet (pun intended) I returned to Vermin to enroll again, to find bad luck. The comptrollers office informed me that since I’d formally dropped out my Student Defense Loans were due and I’d not be able to get another loan until the first was paid in full.
    Needing a chunk of money I went to work oil rigs in Gillette. Came to Colorado for a snow skiing week, between drilling jobs, was offered a Teamster’s Union job and never went back to SD, except for business. heh heh and pheasant hunting.
    Things worked out for the best as Colorado is where I’m meant to be.
    No grudznick or any of his stinky goats.

  7. Joe 2021-07-15 10:49

    I think the accurate headline would read “__% of new *in-state* freshpeople …”. Regardless, it’s an interesting topic. I was surprised to learn almost half of SDSU’s students are from outside South Dakota. Looking at the link from the Board of Regents it’s telling that enrollment at the Regents institutions is down 8% overall since 2010, even as the state population continues to grow. I guess SD’s growth must be skewed to older folks, and/or a smaller percentage of kids are going to college than in the past.

  8. Joe 2021-07-15 12:32

    Somewhat related, came across my work feed today:

    “There are many studies about the dearth of Black and Latino college students who pursue science but rural students, who are predominantly white, are another underrepresented group. Getting more of them to study science may not only help improve their lives but could also help revitalize economically distressed areas of our country. That’s something that could benefit all of us.”

    “PROOF POINTS: Rural American students shift away from math and science during high school, study finds”

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-07-15 13:25

    I want America’s youth, of all races, taught thoughtfully. Taught that American white people don’t experience unfair courts, unfair job applications, unfair landlords, police stations and banks. Taught that the processes used by these institutions are applied fairly, to almost all white people. That’s critical race theory conveyed with the white privilege filter turned on.

  10. Joe 2021-07-15 16:16

    A final observation from diving into the BOR Dashboard: The gender mix at the Regent institutions.

    School of Mines: 75% guys
    Dakota State: 66% guys
    SDSU: 50/50
    USD, Northern State, and Black Hills State: 2/3 gals

    When I attended college (granted, this was in the 1980s) at Iowa State, it was about 60% guys. So was SDSU. USD was about 50/50. My friends that stayed in Rapid and went to Mines said it seemed like 90/10 or maybe 85/15. Iowa State nowadays has more women than men on campus.

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