South Dakota 65% Attainment Goal


At the August 2015 retreat the Board of Regents discussed the findings from a 2013 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce report forecasting changes in South Dakota based on a transition toward a knowledge-based, service-based economy. The Georgetown data indicated that by 2020, 65% of jobs in South Dakota will require some level of postsecondary credentialing (including certificates, licensing, associate, and baccalaureate degrees). [1]Following this discussion the Board adopted a provisional attainment goal of 65% of South Dakotans, aged 25-34, holding some form of postsecondary credential by the year 2025 with the 65%.  Later that year, the Workforce Development Council voted to support this goal, and the Board of Education Standards gave their support for the goal at their May 2016 meeting.[2] Governor Daugaard voiced his support in his 2016 State of the State address stating, "More than ever before, it's important for young people to continue their education beyond high school. The Board of Regents recently proposed a goal that 65% of young people in South Dakota achieve a post-secondary credential of some sort, and I think that is a worthy goal to pursue."[3] Shortly afterwards Governor Daugaard signed a proclamation supporting the strategic direction for the state. 



Attainment Goal Metrics

The Dashboard below provides data on the progress to date for meeting this aggressive Attainment Goal for South Dakota, with the most recent data indicating that we have 45% of the citizens 25-34 with an Associate's Degree or higher, which is an increase of 4% from the previous year.  The Dashboard also provides relevant data on a number of attainment gap areas that are of targeted interest for advancing our educational attainment goals, with comparisons against all other states. In addition to evaluating the progress toward this Attainment Goal, five specific areas (each with specific metrics) that directly impact progress toward this goal are monitored annually.  



[2] Although the Board of Education did not take formal action on the attainment goal, the Department of Education supported the initiative and the new school accountability model being developed to comply with Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) takes more aggressive steps toward ensuring that every student is college and career ready prior to high school graduation. 

[3] "State of the State Address of Governor Dennis Daugaard," 12 January 2016, available from


 College Readiness

To meet the 65% Attainment Goal, and increasing number of South Dakota high school students will need to not only be prepared for the rigours of postsecondary curriculum they plan to pursue, but a higher percentage will need to pursue their postsecondary careers here in South Dakota.  The High School to College Transition dashboard charts the preparation of students from every district in South Dakota as they enter the Regental system, while the College Matriculation dashboard shows matriculation patterns for all South Dakota students 16 months after graduation from higher school.





Increasing the number of high school graduates attending South Dakota institutions will result in only a fraction of the Attainment Goal needed for the state to be competitive.  Increasing numbers of adult students, and students from outside the state will need to be encouraged to pursue their postsecondary careers here in South Dakota.  The Fall Enrollment dashboard provides a detailed overview of enrollments for all student sectors, and the Freshman Migration dashboard depicts the in- and out-migration patterns of students from other states within the country.




 Progression & Completion

Stronger emphasis will need to be placed on the success that future and existing students have as they enter postsecondary institutions in the state.  A higher percentage of these students will need to be retained and graduate on time.  Additionally, a higher percentage will need to remain in South Dakota to meet the states workforce needs.  The Student Success dashboard provides detailed data on the overall retention and graduation success of students in the Regental system, with capacity to evaluate specific student populations and their characteristics.  Additionally, the Graduate Production and Graduate Placement dashboards provide evidence of the degree production to meet workforce needs, and the placement data on all students in South Dakota within one year of graduation.



 Affordability & Finance

Readiness, enrollment patterns and student progression and completion are directly tied to students ability to afford the postsecondary opportunities available to them in South Dakota.  The University Affordability dashboard provides data on the relative affordability of each postsecondary sector in the state compared to similar institutions and sectors around the country.  Additionally, the Peer Analysis dashboard allows for evaluation of Regental institutions against peer, regional, and national groups across more than 90 indicators drawn from IPEDS.




 Economic Development & Workforce

The primary driver for the South Dakota Attainment Goal was to ensure that we have the citizens with the appropriate credentials necessary to meet the state's workforce needs by 2025.  To ensure the appropriate alignment of these credentials with the workforce needs of the state, three dashboards have been developed for institutions to use as they evolve and develop new degree programs to facilitate the important degree and workforce alignment. The Occupational Wages dashboard, provides BLS data on the current wages for each occupation in South Dakota, and the Labor Force dashboard highlights the projected increase in each of these occupation over time.  Finally, the Employment Projections dashboard provides insight on future employment projections to ensure that jobs will exist for future graduates in the postsecondary program offerings.