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South Dakota universities are important to the state’s economy

Community College building.

January 6, 2022

South Dakota public higher education institutions generated a total impact on the state’s economy of more than $2.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2019, according to an economic contribution analysis released last month.

The study also found that the economic activity of the public university system supported or sustained 12,354 jobs throughout the state.

“These economic impact numbers reflect the importance of our system’s work across the state. It shows our universities are making an impact in the communities they serve and retaining graduates to continue to grow our workforce and economy,” said John W. Bastian, president of the South Dakota Board of Regents.

The study measured the economic contribution of South Dakota’s public higher education institutions under the direction and leadership of the Board of Regents. The study calculates the impact of operations, student spending, and visitor spending across six universities:

  • Black Hills State University
  • Dakota State University
  • Northern State University
  • South Dakota Mines
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of South Dakota

"The mission of the Board of Regents is to govern the system of public higher education across South Dakota. That ensures higher education is resourced and delivered to maximize results,” said Brian L. Maher, the regents’ executive director & CEO. “This is a commitment we take seriously, with an ultimate goal to advance communities statewide. We are proud of the work we do for students, families, and citizens. Our system’s economic impact is a strong and stable indicator of our duty as stewards of public higher education.”

The study was conducted by Parker Philips, Inc., a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis.

The full economic contribution analysis is available at