Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Enrollment Drop at SD Mines Shows Continued Need for Competitive Scholarship Funding



RAPID CITY, SD (Sept. 20, 2018) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology saw a drop in enrollment of about 4.5 percent for the fall of 2018, according to new data from the South Dakota Board of Regents. The drop is due to several factors, including a large number of May 2018 graduates who were part of the record-sized fall 2014 incoming class.   

University officials also attribute the availability of competitive scholarships as an important factor in recruiting students. The number of students accepted into the university has increased annually. However, after they are accepted many freshmen choose to enroll elsewhere, and they cite scholarships as one of the top reasons. Mines offers numerous scholarships, but some peer institutions offer higher-dollar scholarships for the caliber of students who qualify to attend SD Mines. Universities such as Mines must rely more on private donations to attract students as government funding for education shrinks.   

“When I went to school at Mines, government paid a higher percentage of each student’s education than it does today,” says SD Mines President Jim Rankin, who graduated from Mines in 1978. “Over the decades, the amount of government support for higher education has decreased. This means we rely more on private scholarships to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

To spur enrollment, the university is currently developing a strategic enrollment plan that will consider program and market development to attract more students. Working with the SD Mines Foundation, there is also an emphasis on raising more scholarship dollars. One of these ways is the annual President’s Dinner, scheduled for Oct. 17, at Arrowhead Country Club. Community members are encouraged to attend and show their support of SD Mines.

There are some silver linings in the numbers released by the Board of Regents. More women are choosing to pursue a STEM degree at Mines, and there has been an increase in graduate enrollment, particularly at the Ph.D. level. Mines freshmen enrollment is also up about two percent this year. 

Engineers and scientists are in high demand, and these fields are crucial to maintaining positive economic growth in both the state and nation. About 30 percent of the students who graduate from Mines stay in the state and land high-paying jobs that contribute to the economy. The university remains an excellent return on investment with a 97 percent job placement rate after graduation. It’s worth noting that the average starting salary for Mines graduates is more than $61,300­ – this means in their first year of employment many students earn a salary that roughly equals the cost of four years of tuition and fees at Mines.  



About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Charles Michael Ray, 605-394-6082, Charles.Ray@sdsmt.edu

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