College Graduates on the Rise in South Dakota

By Catherine Groux
Posted August 28, 2012 02:00 PM

More students are earning college degrees in South Dakota.
More students are earning college degrees in South Dakota.
New data from the South Dakota Board of Regents shows that the number of students earning college degrees in the state has increased by 21% since 2005, while enrollment has risen by 17%, The Associated Press reports.

Today, about 39.6% of South Dakota residents between the ages of 25 and 34 have at least an associate's degree, according to the College Board. This is slightly below the national average of 41.1%, but given the recent surge in graduates, state officials hope they will not fall below average for long.

Jack Warner, executive director of regents, told the AP that part of the reason for the drastic increase in degree holders comes from better preparation of secondary school students. In recent years, institutions of higher education have been working with high schools throughout the state to ensure students are ready for college, he said.

Chuck Staben, provost of the University of South Dakota, added that colleges throughout the state are also working to ensure their students have the academic support they need to earn a bachelor's or associate's degree. Additionally, schools are making a greater effort to personally speak with students who are thinking about dropping out.

"When we have students who do not measure in our data in the semester after they have registered, we call them, each one, and ask them why they have not re-registered and how we can facilitate their continued success in college," Staben told the AP.

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