Three of South Dakota’s four technical colleges show enrollment drop for Fall 2020 semester
Mike Tanner/KWAT

October 5, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – Fall 2020 enrollment in South Dakota’s technical college system has increased by 55 students over last fall, to a total headcount of 7,177. This number includes all full-time and part-time students, as well as participants in the high school dual-credit program.

The system includes Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, and Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City.

South Dakota’s technical colleges have experienced steady enrollment increases over the past five years, growing from a total headcount of 6,569 in the fall of 2016. The growth can be partially attributed to increased enrollment in programs related to construction, health sciences, and marketing.

“Given the impact of COVID-19 on post-secondary education, steady overall enrollment with some increases in high-demand areas is good news for the technical colleges in South Dakota,” said Nick Wendell, executive director of the South Dakota Board of Technical Education. “This promising start to the fall of 2020 is a credit to the diligence and innovation of our faculty, staff, and administrators. It is also points to the faith South Dakota students and their families have in the quality of our technical education system.”

Enrollment at Lake Area Technical College was down 11 students. Mitchell Tech was down seven students, Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls saw an enrollment drop of 30 students. Those losses were offset by an increase of 103 students at Western Dakota Technical  College in Rapid City.