South Dakota’s four technical institutes have a retention rate of 78%, according to the system’s 2019 retention report received by the Board of Technical Education during a meeting in Pierre this morning. The retention rate measures those students who enroll at an institution one fall and return to the same institution the following fall.
Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell has an 84% retention rate, Lake Area Technical Institute here in Watertown has an 83% retention rate, Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls has a 72% retention rate, and Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City has a 70% retention rate. All four South Dakota institutions have a
retention rate considerably higher than the national average among public two-year colleges, which sits at 62% (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System).
“Retention is an effective way to measure the health of an institution because it reflects students who enroll and have a positive enough experience that they choose to return,” said Nick Wendell, Executive Director of the Board of Technical Education.
“Our institutions have continued to focus on student success, both inside and outside the classroom. Strong
retention rates lead to strong graduation rates and both numbers lead to more skilled professionals entering
the South Dakota workforce,” noted Dana Dykhouse, Chair of the Board of Technical Education.
Also at today’s meeting, the board approved an expansion for Lake Area Technical Institute’s Practical Nursing and Registered Nursing programs. The programs will be offered through the Capital University Center in Pierre starting the fall of 2020.