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  • Fall Enrollment Down 5%

    The SDBOR fall enrollment numbers came out this week. There was system-wide decrease at most institutions, but SDSU had the largest decrease in headcount (down 589 students), Full Time Equivalent students (down 399 students) and percentage decrease in headcount (down 4.86%).

    Anyone who isn't concerned about enrollment trends this decade at SDSU needs to start paying attention. We've been stagnant for almost a decade now, while the population in the state has increased. In 2013, the Impact 2018 master plan set a goal of 14,000 students by the year 2018. We're going in the wrong direction. Dunn eluded to the fact that student fees will be increasing soon as a result of the decreased enrollment. I know the administration is chalking this decrease up to the fact that there were more degrees granted last year than usual due to students from dual credit courses graduating early, but the long term trend isn't a good one.

    Our overall headcount now is below 12,000 for the first time since 2008. I'm not sure what the solution is, but it's not a good trend.

  • #2
    Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

    I'm not sure going forward if there's going to be much overall increase in university enrollment other than natural population increase. My expectation is that a lot of universities nationwide are going to start seeing enrollment declines in the next few years (or they're going to start juicing their numbers even more by going after non-traditional, non-residential, non-full-time students.)

    Most everyone who can go to college is (there are some exceptions but honestly not many); and there's a good number of people who shouldn't (because of ability or inclination) or don't need to (because of ability, career interest or again inclination) are going to college. Things need to shake out, and that includes improving non-academic-college options for post-high-schooi education.
    "I think we'll be OK"

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    • #3
      Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

      Originally posted by Mr_Tibbs View Post
      The SDBOR fall enrollment numbers came out this week. There was system-wide decrease at most institutions, but SDSU had the largest decrease in headcount (down 589 students), Full Time Equivalent students (down 399 students) and percentage decrease in headcount (down 4.86%).

      Anyone who isn't concerned about enrollment trends this decade at SDSU needs to start paying attention. We've been stagnant for almost a decade now, while the population in the state has increased. In 2013, the Impact 2018 master plan set a goal of 14,000 students by the year 2018. We're going in the wrong direction. Dunn eluded to the fact that student fees will be increasing soon as a result of the decreased enrollment. I know the administration is chalking this decrease up to the fact that there were more degrees granted last year than usual due to students from dual credit courses graduating early, but the long term trend isn't a good one.

      Our overall headcount now is below 12,000 for the first time since 2008. I'm not sure what the solution is, but it's not a good trend.
      I'm not sure what the solution is either, but I know that increasing student fees to make it even more expensive to attend probably isn't the answer.

      There are a few problems. The biggest one is an unemployment rate in the state of under 3%, and actually about 2.5% in the most populated city of Sioux falls. Its pretty tough to tell kids they need to go to college and spend $80k? for a degree when they can easily find a job right out of high school.

      Second, is that while the population is increasing, I'm guessing much of it is migration to Sioux Falls and Rapid City, and not necessarily younger college age kids that necessarily help with enrollment.

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      • #4
        Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

        How is enrollment at Lake Area Tech? Is SDSU losing more students to other schools?

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        • #5
          Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

          Originally posted by Jacks-02 View Post
          I'm not sure what the solution is either, but I know that increasing student fees to make it even more expensive to attend probably isn't the answer.

          There are a few problems. The biggest one is an unemployment rate in the state of under 3%, and actually about 2.5% in the most populated city of Sioux falls. Its pretty tough to tell kids they need to go to college and spend $80k? for a degree when they can easily find a job right out of high school.

          Second, is that while the population is increasing, I'm guessing much of it is migration to Sioux Falls and Rapid City, and not necessarily younger college age kids that necessarily help with enrollment.
          Agrees on the fee increase, but that's pretty much their only option. That, or they need to start decreasing funding for existing organizations/athletics/etc., which no one wants.

          And certainly, a strong economy makes it tougher to get kids to choose school of the job market. Enrollment bumped up quite a bit around 2006-2010, and the economy surely played a part.

          As for the demographic part, while there is some internal migration, state total population increase is based on birth rate and migration rate into the state. Sioux Falls and Rapid have both grown a lot (Sioux Falls more so), but that growth isn't all elderly. There are lots of young families in the Sioux Falls area.

          I won't get too in-depth about it here (feel free to PM me though), but the SDBOR had about 1500 more students enroled system wide from Minnehaha and Pennington county back in 2008 than they do now. SDSU had about 8.5k in-state students back then. They now have around 7.5k. Long story short, kids in Sioux Falls aren't going to SDBOR institutions at the same rate that they were 10 years ago, and the population in the metro of school aged kids hasn't declined. And based on the levels of participation 10 years ago, there's about 1000 more South Dakota students that should be enrolled at SDSU that aren't. Our increase in non-resident students in the last 10 years has kept us stable, but the bulk of this "loss" comes from kids in SD.

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          • #6
            Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

            Originally posted by sdsurulz08 View Post
            How is enrollment at Lake Area Tech? Is SDSU losing more students to other schools?
            From the 9/23/19 Watertown Public Opinion newspaper:
            LATI in Watertown had its first fall student enrollment dip after 15 straight years of increases. This fall's enrollment is 2,228, a decrease of 17 from Fall of 2018 (2,245...which was 190 greater than Fall of 2017). For the past five years, LATI reported a 29.1 per cent increase in student headcount.

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            • #7
              Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

              President Dunn and his administration need to aggressively combat this trend, not rationalize the problem away. SDSU should not be on the leading edge of dropping enrollments in South Dakota.

              https://sdsucollegian.com/19018/news...ment-for-2019/
              This space for lease.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                Originally posted by Jacked_Up View Post
                President Dunn and his administration need to aggressively combat this trend, not rationalize the problem away. SDSU should not be on the leading edge of dropping enrollments in South Dakota.

                https://sdsucollegian.com/19018/news...ment-for-2019/
                I figure the ag economy right now is all jumbled up. Weather has been a factor several years in a row. Low prices and uncertain trade deals I figure some going for the ag professions cant see spending 50k or what ever it would be for a career that's unstable right now. I wish the state schools would allow customized degrees. I think I would have taken that in a heart beat. I have a HPER degree and getting masters now from usd for health services administration and would love to have more options for the classes I take. I had administrative law and mostly focused on issues like fair housing and tennet rights and similar topics. Nothing about healthcare, or lawsuits or laws involved in healthcare. Just a class to cross off a list that really does not help for the degree I am in. For my undergrad if I could have had some business components
                or minor atleast would have been huge. Sorry for the side rant.
                "The most rewarding things you do in life, are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. Arnold Palmer

                Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                  Originally posted by goon View Post
                  I figure the ag economy right now is all jumbled up. Weather has been a factor several years in a row. Low prices and uncertain trade deals I figure some going for the ag professions cant see spending 50k or what ever it would be for a career that's unstable right now. I wish the state schools would allow customized degrees. I think I would have taken that in a heart beat. I have a HPER degree and getting masters now from usd for health services administration and would love to have more options for the classes I take. I had administrative law and mostly focused on issues like fair housing and tennet rights and similar topics. Nothing about healthcare, or lawsuits or laws involved in healthcare. Just a class to cross off a list that really does not help for the degree I am in. For my undergrad if I could have had some business components
                  or minor atleast would have been huge. Sorry for the side rant.
                  No doubt a period of change. I told someone on Facebook that I am glad I am 78 and not seven and going on eight. The cost for higher education seems to be out of control. Why go deep in debt for an education in a society of flux? Things looked very uncertain in 1965 when I walked across the stage at the end of summer session and got my degree. I had the draft to worry about that turned into an a four year vacation in Guam and Japan courtesy of the taxpayers. I would not trade places with current grads with piles of student debt and possibly the best possibility is job at Walmart in the tire department. There is great amount of job mismatch going on too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                    Originally posted by Nidaros View Post
                    No doubt a period of change. I told someone on Facebook that I am glad I am 78 and not seven and going on eight. The cost for higher education seems to be out of control. Why go deep in debt for an education in a society of flux? Things looked very uncertain in 1965 when I walked across the stage at the end of summer session and got my degree. I had the draft to worry about that turned into an a four year vacation in Guam and Japan courtesy of the taxpayers. I would not trade places with current grads with piles of student debt and possibly the best possibility is job at Walmart in the tire department. There is great amount of job mismatch going on too.
                    That was my job at Walmart. Exactly why I went back to finish my degree. Installing tires on pickups all day at walmart really has a way to make you rethink what your doing.
                    "The most rewarding things you do in life, are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. Arnold Palmer

                    Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                      Originally posted by Nidaros View Post
                      No doubt a period of change. I told someone on Facebook that I am glad I am 78 and not seven and going on eight. The cost for higher education seems to be out of control. Why go deep in debt for an education in a society of flux? Things looked very uncertain in 1965 when I walked across the stage at the end of summer session and got my degree. I had the draft to worry about that turned into an a four year vacation in Guam and Japan courtesy of the taxpayers. I would not trade places with current grads with piles of student debt and possibly the best possibility is job at Walmart in the tire department. There is great amount of job mismatch going on too.
                      The higher education business has no one to blame but themselves (you know raising student fees to fund things like athletics). It's quickly become financially un-wise to go to a four year college for an awful lot of degrees (and young people are starting to realize this). I read an article a couple months ago that highlighted the cost for a degree in certain fields and the median income out of college. The delta for some was staggering. Couple this with an extremely strong job market and you've got a recipe for decline.

                      My nephew was considering going to SDSU for some ag type degree. When they started to look at the pros and cons of a 4-yr vs 2-yr degree they decided doubling the debt to get a 4-yr degree just wasn't worth it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                        Overall, I think that higher education enrollment tends to be counter-cyclical . . . i.e. enrollment tends to go up (or goes up more) during relatively tough economic times and tends to slow down (or go down) during relatively good economic times. The economy has been going fairly well the past few years so that may be a factor here.
                        "I think we'll be OK"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                          Originally posted by goon View Post
                          That was my job at Walmart. Exactly why I went back to finish my degree. Installing tires on pickups all day at walmart really has a way to make you rethink what your doing.
                          I know a Concordia grad who is exactly in this position. I always thought someone with great writing skills would have a great a
                          choice of jobs. Those job choices are mostly jobs that pay $11 to $15 per hour. If I were an incoming freshman, I would major in Dairy Manufacturing or Engineering. There still is serious hiring in these fields.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                            FYI, NDSU also down 4.5%, UND down 1.9%. So it's not just you guys. A couple of the smaller 4-year ND schools near Fargo showed increases. Belief is that they're seeing the increases due to keeping tuition costs below NDSU/UND.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Fall Enrollment Down 5%

                              If we're going to debate the value of a 4 year degree, I think we have to differentiate between types of 4 year degrees. A 4 year degree in a STEM field is a different value with incurred debt than a 4 year degree in History (no offense to history majors out there, it's one of my favorite subjects). A 2 year degree is probably more valuable than that history degree, but I'd argue that it isn't more valuable, especially long term, than a 4 year degree in a STEM field. That 2 year degree will save some debt and probably start you out in a good position, but to move up in your given field of choice, you're going to eventually need to get a bachelor's degree.

                              When talking about cost-value, the field that probably suffers the most is the education majors. They take on the same debt for a job that requires a 4 year degree, for a very meager salary. With that said, there's a lot of incentives and loan forgiveness programs out there for education grads teaching in rural areas, so perhaps it balances out.

                              I will agree that we probably have too many kids graduating with 4 year degrees that probably didn't need to be in college/obtain a bachelors. I would not agree that 2 year degrees are now more valuable than a good 4 year degree. Especially in the course of one''s career.

                              And a final point of clarification: the economy has been better since about 2014/2015 or so. Enrollment has been flatlined at State since 2010, when the economy was still firmly "unrecovered".

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