Enrollment at Black Hills State University is 3,858 students, down 4 percent this year which aligns with enrollment trends in the state and region. BHSU noted an increase in the number of new freshmen.
Enrollment at Black Hills State University is down 4 percent this year, which aligns with decreasing enrollment trends across the state and region. This fall 3,858 students are enrolled at BHSU.
Most of the decline at BHSU is attributed to a decrease in the number of graduate students. Other areas that showed declines were the number of students enrolled at BHSU-Rapid City and the number of transfer students. This year BHSU has 174 graduate students; a decrease of 116 from last fall. That decrease is primarily teachers who were taking non-degree seeking courses.
Overall in the South Dakota Board of Regents system, which includes six state universities, enrollment is down 3 percent.
BHSU Interim President Laurie Nichols noted that a strong freshmen class of 521 students, an increase of 31 over last year, is a significant positive indicator for the university especially as the state and region face continued declines in the number of high school graduates.
“Although the overall enrollment at BHSU declined, it is encouraging to see the steady and increasing numbers for new freshmen at BHSU. That signals a positive trend,” Nichols said.
- The South Dakota In-State Tuition program, which began this summer for new freshmen and transfer students from six surrounding states, was a factor leading to the increase in new freshmen. The program offers those students a tuition rate equivalent to in-state tuition. With the program, BHSU recruited an additional 40 students with increases from Wyoming, Colorado and Montana.
- Dual Credit enrollments, which are high school students taking university courses, are at an all-time high for the university. Dual Credit enrollment creates the opportunity for high achieving high school students to earn university credit before they enroll full time with significant savings in tuition.
- The BHSU Honors Program has also seen exceptional continued growth. Currently, there are 140 Honors scholars enrolled this fall up from 115 last year. The Honors students are involved in multidisciplinary research, community service and projects like the Veterans Legacy Program, and global service learning and research programs.
- Online enrollment, which is now at 2,248, continues to grow steadily at BHSU. More than half of all BHSU students are taking at least one online course this fall.
- The racial-ethnic diversity of students choosing BHSU continues to increase with an overall 20 percent population this fall. BHSU has the highest diversity of the six South Dakota universities.
Black Hills State University is the only comprehensive university in western South Dakota. BHSU is a masters-level state university with students from all 66 counties in South Dakota, 42 states, and 25 countries. The campus leads the region in environmental sustainability efforts and maintains top academic programs in business (AACSB accredited), exercise science, natural sciences, social sciences, the arts, mass communication, health sciences and education. The university provides academic programs through three colleges, the College of Business and Natural Sciences, the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts. Founded in 1883 as a school for preparing teachers, BHSU is located in the northern Black Hills, a region abundant with outdoor activity and culture.
the S.D. Board of Regents Fall 2019 Enrollment News Release