Black Hills State University recorded an enrollment increase for the first time in nine years with overall enrollment reporting at 3,475 students, a growth of 50 students from Fall 2022. 

“Stabilizing enrollment at BHSU has been a strategic priority for the last several years,” President Laurie S. Nichols said. “I am so pleased that we are beginning to see results in a recently implemented strategic enrollment plan and thank the many faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly to increase both incoming students and improve retention of our current students.” 

First time freshmen increased to 489, up from 481 last year. Retention again was on the rise following a record year in 2022, improving by a percentage point to 72%. 

“We have made some very intentional changes to provide support for students and improve the student experience,” Dr. John Allred, vice president for Enrollment Management, said. “With the addition of a Career Development Office and Center for Faculty Innovation, there is a focus on including high impact practices in general education as well as identifying targeted milestones for students as they progress down a career pathway. We have also provided many opportunities for students to interact with peer mentors or receive tutoring for challenging courses. With these efforts, we hope to continue this positive trajectory.” 

The overall headcount increase equates to a 1.46% bump over last fall, while the uptick in freshmen is a 1.66% upgrade. Overall student credit hours were down slightly from 31,516 to 31,349, and full-time equivalents (FTE) dipped by nine to 2,105. 

Undergraduate student headcount went up 18, while the graduate headcount expanded by 32 students.  

Internet students saw the biggest jump from a 2,228 total last fall to 2,326 this year. Headcount on the Spearfish main campus held relatively steady with an increase of two students to 1,527, while BHSU-Rapid City had a decline of 60 for a total of 382.  

The number of Native American students grew from 73 to 111, a gain of 52.05%.  

The South Dakota Board of Regents publishes enrollment numbers at the beginning of each academic year. For additional information, please contact or visit