University of Sioux Falls has much to celebrate this month. Last Friday marked national Census Day for universities across the nation, and USF reported record highs in enrollment. And Saturday, the liberal arts institution celebrated its 135-year anniversary.

This fall USF welcomes its largest first-time freshman class ever of 303 new students. Also, its largest-ever undergraduate population of 1,062 students is underway with its studies. Total students on campus this year total 1,615, which is not a record. In 2006, this was higher at 1,674.

“More than ever I think students and their families are understanding that the personal, high quality and fully-engaged education USF offers is within their financial reach, and these enrollment numbers demonstrate that,” said USF President Brett Bradfield.

Last year, USF took a meaningful step in addressing the rising cost of college tuition by resetting its undergraduate tuition price by $10,000, back to levels last seen in 2007-2008. The move builds upon USF’s long history of providing generous financial assistance and places the University among the most affordable institutions in the region. And it helps make USF’s high-quality, intensely personal, Christ-centered educational experience accessible to more students.

“Our professors get to know students on a personal level and serve as their mentors, friends and advocates,” said Aimee Vander Feen, vice president for enrollment management. “This, along with the personalized campus-life experience, brings great value to USF students and their parents.”

High school students can sign up for a Campus Preview Day this fall:

  • Friday, September 28 (USF’s homecoming week)
  • Friday, October 19
  • Monday, November 12
  • Custom Date

USF has come far since September 8, 1883, when secondary and collegiate programs began as Dakota Collegiate Institute, yet the institution remains faithful to the vision of its founders. The University affirms its heritage as a distinctively Christian college in the liberal arts tradition, fostering academic excellence and preparing students to serve God and humankind in the world. 

And the University of Sioux Falls is the oldest private institution in South Dakota that was founded within the state, even before South Dakota was state, and it quickly moved to Sioux Falls.

“USF recognizes that we do not exist in a bubble,” President Bradfield said. “To that end, we actively seek productive partnerships and take pride in our active participation with the city, state and region that support our existence.” 

Last year the Chamber recognized USF for 110 years of membership and as a founding member of the Chamber.

Each May, between 400 and 500 students graduate from University of Sioux Falls. Of those who remain in South Dakota, 87 percent stay in Sioux Falls. And an impressive 98 percent find employment in their chosen field within 6 months of graduation.

“In addition to producing highly skilled workers, our brand of liberal arts education commits us to educating and preparing the whole person to live fully—personally, spiritually and intellectually—for not just a successful career but for a successful life that will benefit God’s kingdom,” said Joy Lind, vice president for academic affairs.

As the University celebrates 135 years of academic excellence and the University’s guiding motto of Culture for Service, it recognizes today that these are common threads reaching all the way back to the institution’s roots as Dakota Collegiate Institute.

With strength of vision as a distinctively Christian institution, the University confidently continues to help students grow as they gain the necessary technical and critical thinking skills for today’s careers. 

Nearly 100% of first-time freshmen receive merit, performance or need-based financial aid.

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