While 2020 has been a year of challenges, there have also been many points of pride this year.

That includes enrollment growth, e-learning increases, and various times where members of our campus community stepped up to help others during this difficult year. These highlights were bright spots during an uncertain time, and we’re proud to share them.

Below are Northern’s top 12 highlights from 2020:


Students and teacher walking through gym

Sent on behalf of the Dean of Students and VP Enrollment, Communications and Marketing


Students, faculty and staff,

The South Dakota Department of Health, in partnership with Vault Health Inc., is now offering at-home COVID-19 testing kits, available at no cost to South Dakota residents. This is a great opportunity for you and your loved ones to take part in free testing while at home over break.

Image of NSU logo and COVID-19 information

Grant from Governor Noem Expands Distance Learning for South Dakota High School Students

e-learning studio

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem has approved a $468,850 grant from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help the Northern State University Center for Statewide E-learning handle larger enrollments this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, 2,400 high school students from 104 South Dakota school districts are served by the E-learning Center. That is an increase of about 22 percent over the entire 2019-20 school year, with spring semester registrations still coming in.

Faculty and staff attended the Campus Town Hall on Monday, where NSU President Dr. Tim Downs reviewed the results of the spring 2020 Campus Climate Survey.

The survey was conducted in April 2020 in accordance with HB 1087, a bill passed in 2019 with the purpose of promoting free speech and intellectual diversity at higher education institutions.

President Downs graphic

COVID-19 has affected all NSU community: students, faculty and staff. Below is a perspective of one member of the community: Brianna Geigle is a student in the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program. She was completing her internship when the pandemic broke out.

Q: In what ways did your internship experience change following the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the US?

Student sitting in a field

Test-optional alternatives available for students applying to Northern

Students wearing masks walking on campus

ABERDEEN, S.D. – High school students who weren’t able to take the ACT or SAT this year due to the pandemic are still eligible for admittance into Northern State University.

Northern and its fellow South Dakota public universities are emphasizing test-optional academic pathways for prospective students.

For Northern, it’s one more way of easing pandemic-related stress for area families.

Please note: The Sept. 30 mass testing event  is moving indoors. The testing will now take place in the Avera Student Center Centennial Rooms.


Faculty, staff and students:

As we navigate through the fall semester, we continue to explore options that may slow the spread of COVID-19.

President Downs graphic


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