PIERRE, S.D. – With courses underway and students falling into a new routine, the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) celebrate the time-honored tradition of returning to school. As the new academic year starts, students see their university not only as a place to study, but also a gateway to their future career.

“Each year, South Dakota’s public universities welcome tens of thousands of students to their campuses,” said BOR Executive Director Nathan Lukkes. “During those first few weeks, students are filled with excitement as they begin to visualize their future, experience the independence of living away from home, and imagine their prospective careers.”

South Dakota’s public universities offer a variety of degree programs, aligning student interests with opportunities to advance our state’s workforce and economy. From teaching to engineering, healthcare to business, each of our state’s universities provides courses tailored to their students’ needs.

“As South Dakota’s public university system, we understand our role in fueling the state’s economy and addressing critical workforce needs,” said BOR President Tim Rave. “By growing the number of students in healthcare and in the classroom, we are filling essential positions to help serve our state.”

South Dakota’s public universities are committed to expanding the state’s economy and meeting industry needs. In the previous academic year, the BOR system awarded over 1,200 in-demand STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), accounting for more than 25% of all BOR graduates. Health Professions were the second most popular degree, comprising over 21% of the total graduates. Business degrees, Social Sciences, and Education rounded out the top five degrees conferred. These leading areas of study produced more than 3,800 graduates for high-need areas in the past year.

After graduating from college, retaining these educated individuals in the state is crucial. This is why our universities collaborate with industry partners to create opportunities to connect and build relationships with students while they are on campus, whether through internships, externships, or experiential learning. Most South Dakota resident students – over 70% – decide to live and work in the state after completing their post-secondary education. For nonresident students, approximately 25% choose to make South Dakota their home, yielding roughly 700 nonresident graduates each year who opt to stay in the state and fill essential positions.

The South Dakota Board of Regents’ universities help showcase the state to students near and far, and our institutions are committed to providing lasting opportunities for all.