For public colleges, a ‘held their own’ report?

State government’s Board of Regents, whose members oversee South Dakota’s six traditional university campuses and three university centers, released the fall enrollment report¬†yesterday.

The universities didn’t have much to show, in either direction. The glass, as some might say, was both half-full and half-empty.

That might be a sign of success. Here’s why.

South Dakota schools said they graduated 9,320 students in spring 2017, according to the schools’ statewide report card¬†was issued Tuesday.

For 2016, graduates totaled 9,088. For 2015, the number was 9,298. In 2014, it was 9,385. And 2013 was 9,495. (For 2012, the percentage was 81.50 but the number of graduates wasn’t immediately clear.)

So high school graduation has been relatively flat in recent years — and the regents’ piece of that pie has been relatively flat, too, in recent years.

One step the regents decided to take, at their August retreat, was to start notifying high school students whose Smarter Balanced assessment scores were high enough. The notices will tell students that they automatically qualify for enrollment in South Dakota’s public universities and public technical institutes.

Paul Turman, one of the vice presidents for the regents’ central office in Pierre, explained that move Monday to state government’s Board of Education Standards, whose members oversee the rules for South Dakota’s K-12 public schools.

The test of the new strategy now comes in the next few years for the regents and the public universities, and for the tech schools and state government’s new Board of Technical Education.

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