Black Hills State University shattered all previous enrollment records this fall with a 16 percent increase in enrollment and an all-time high of 4,722 students.

Black Hills State University shattered all previous enrollment records this fall with a 16 percent increase in enrollment and an all-time high of 4,722 students.

Enrollment increased at all South Dakota Board of Regent universities. BHSU had the largest increase in the number of students among the six state universities.

To say that BHSU has record-breaking enrollment is an understatement. The significant growth in enrollment, which includes 646 more students this fall as compared to last fall, follows a six-year span of steadily increasing enrollment. This is the largest increase BHSU has experienced in at least 40 years (comparison data not available prior to 1970).

This fall enrollment not only broke all previous records, the University increased enrollment in every category.
BHSU fall 2010 enrollment increases include:

  • 130% increase in graduate students
  • 19% increase in freshman students
  • 28% increase in transfer students
  • 48% increase in students enrolled in online courses
  • 62% increase in international students
  • 21% increase in out-of-state students
  • 17% increase in South Dakota students
  • 9% increase in full time equivalency

“This is a historic and exciting day for Black Hills State University. The continuing growth at Black Hills State University is a testament to our high quality academic programs and the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff members,” BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says. “I’m proud of the University’s ability to respond to the higher education needs of the state and the greater Black Hills region by developing programs that meet the demand of students and employers.”

This fall BHSU has students enrolled from 65 of the 66 counties in South Dakota and 45 of the 50 states as well as 22 foreign countries.

Beth Oaks, director of Admissions at BHSU, says the enrollment increase is a reflection of the exceptional reputation the University has gained across the state, the nation, and internationally. She notes an enrollment increase of this magnitude is especially significant because the state and region is facing a steady decline in the number of high school students.

“This year Black Hills State University has an increase of nineteen percent in our freshmen class. That’s a considerable rise,” Oaks says. “As I visit with high school students across the region I hear their discussions about choosing a university. Their comments indicate that they are choosing Black Hills State University because they recognize the tremendous educational experiences and the incredible success of our graduates.”

The significant enrollment increase is attributed to on-going strategic university-wide initiatives in recent years. The entire campus has been proactively planning for increased enrollment. Infrastructure improvements, enhanced student services, and continuous academic reviews ensure that BHSU is prepared to meet the needs of the growing number of students. Several new academic programs were added this fall and others are under consideration.

A major renovation and addition of the Student Union, which was completed in the fall of 2009, more than doubled the amount of space and expanded dining services in an efficient dining area that has been receiving rave reviews from students, faculty, staff, and visitors. A new science building is under construction and will provide additional classroom and laboratory space for students when it is completed next semester.

“This is an exciting time to be at Black Hills State University. Our students are earning national recognition for their achievements, our graduates are highly sought by employers and graduate schools, and our faculty and staff are successfully creating a dynamic learning community,” Schallenkamp says. “Students and their parents recognize these advancements and are making Black Hills State University the university of choice.”

  • Graduate enrollment: Since Fall 2006, BHSU has doubled the number of graduate students. BHSU, which launched a new MBA program in Rapid City this fall, also offers master’s degrees in education, integrative genomics, and strategic leadership.
  • Rapid City enrollment: Since Fall of 2006, the number of students taking BHSU classes in Rapid City has increased 20 percent. This fall BHSU has more than 1,300 students attending classes in Rapid City. The new University Center – Rapid City, which is currently under construction, will provide a single site with enhanced classroom space and allow for more scheduling options for classes offered by all six state universities. The center will provide students with a central location that emphasizes convenience, flexibility in scheduling, and one-stop services. The Center, which is being built to accommodate the higher education needs of working adults in the state’s second largest city and the surrounding region, will be utilized for the Spring 2011 semester.

A recent study revealed that BHSU contributes $59.8 million a year in immediate economic impact to South Dakota and approximately $190.6 million a year in the long run. These amounts were based on enrollment in 2007. As enrollment increases the economic impact will grow as well.