Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Enrollment at Mines Up Slightly, Number of SD Students Rising

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 21, 2016) – Enrollment at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is up slightly with a student population of 2,859 this fall semester, 16 more than a year ago.

The total number of undergraduate students is exactly the same, at 2,485, while the number of graduate students seeking a master’s degree has increased by 7 percent to 244 students.

The number of first-time, full-time freshmen enrolling at Mines who graduated from South Dakota high schools is up significantly this year, from 202 last fall to 229 this fall – a 13 percent increase at a time when the number of students graduating from high school in South Dakota is flat or declining slightly overall.

"I’m particularly pleased to see so many more South Dakota students choosing to come to Mines," said Heather Wilson, SD Mines President. "I hope these numbers mean that a larger proportion of South Dakota students overall are choosing engineering and science as their life’s work."

Slightly more than half of Mines students, 52.7 percent, come from other states and countries.

The university has served as a successful pipeline for importing talent into South Dakota, growing the state’s economy and creating jobs. About 20 percent of graduates who come from outside the state have a first zip code after graduation inside South Dakota, helping to meet the critical need for engineers and scientists.

Mines saw a decline in freshmen applying and coming from several states, Colorado in particular. This drop is largely attributed to out-of-state tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation over the past three years.

"Mines offers challenging academics, personal attention, a great internship program and a beautiful location to go to college," said Wilson. "We will work with the Board of Regents and the other universities in the South Dakota system to make sure we keep college affordable and attract needed talent to the state."

While Mines saw an increase in qualified applicants for doctoral degrees, research funding was available for 113 PhD students – two fewer than last year but more than double the number of a decade ago when there were just 45 doctoral students.

Mines has been pursuing planned growth to about 3,000 undergraduates and has added over 548 students to the student body over the last five years. While Mines has some co-enrolled high school students and distance students, Mines excels at engaged engineering and science learning and most growth has come from traditional, in-person students.

SD Mines Headcount Enrollment Growth

Fall Term
Enrollment Change % Change
2011 2,311
2012 2,424 +113 4.9%
2013 2,640 +216 8.9%
2,798 +158 6.0%
2,843 + 45
2016 2,859 + 16 0.6%
Total +548 23.7%

During the same five year period, Full Time Equivalent (FTE) growth was 412 students or 20.1%.


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 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Fran LeFort, (605) 394-6082, MediaRelations@sdsmt.edu