Last updated on 2011.12.20
The South Dakota Board of Regents boasts that South Dakota has reversed "brain drain." This new Regents' study on net migration of new high school grads finds that while 1,564 of South Dakota's 9,142 2008 HS graduates (17%) went out of state for college, 2,134 young people from other states came here for their freshman year of college. That means South Dakota enjoyed a net gain of 570 college freshmen.
Of course, assuming that a net influx of college freshmen reverses brain drain assumes that college freshmen have brains. It also assumes that those freshmen stick around to apply those brains to the general welfare of South Dakota.
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Alas, the Board of Regents' placement outcomes report suggests otherwise. The Regents look at placement of over 20,000 Regental system grads within one year of graduation. They find that 56% of out-of-state undergrads and 75% of out-of-state graduate students who complete their degrees in South Dakota are not working or pursuing advanced degrees in South Dakota within one year of graduation.
From what I can calculate from the Regents' numbers, however many freshman we may gain in recruitment, a few years later, the majority of them head back out, along with over 30% of our own young people. We appear to gain maybe 1,800 out-of-staters who stay after graduation, but we give up over 4,500 of our own to other states... which suggests, contrary to the Board of Regents' contention, that the brain drain continues.