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Study: SD’s 6 universities have $2 billion economic impact

December 12, 2021 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — An analysis conducted for the South Dakota Board of Regents shows the significant impact of public higher education on the state’s economy.

The state’s six public universities supported 12,354 jobs and generated $2.1 billion in annual economic impact in fiscal 2019, according to the analysis by the consulting firm, Parker Philips, Inc. The universities together generated more than $74 million in state and local taxes for the fiscal year.

More than 33,000 students attend Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota.

The financial data used in the study was gleaned from operational and capital expenditures, employee payroll and benefits and estimated spending by visitors and students beyond tuition and fees, according to Park Philips.

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The reports notes that while the universities are a primary economic engine of the state, they are not without challenges. Those include declining population, decreased student enrollment, affordability of higher education and decreased state aid.

Total enrollment in the state’s public universities has declined by 8.1% over the past five years as the number of high school graduates declines, the analysis said.

Among six neighboring states, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, the annual cost for undergraduate tuition and fees in South Dakota is second only to Minnesota. Total costs for tuition, fees, and room and board were $16,251 at South Dakota’s public universities in 2019.