Best Colleges In South Dakota

South Dakota has one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas. Here are a compilation of the top schools in the state.

Updated August 30, 2022

Best Colleges In South Dakota

Are you ready to find your fit?

You probably recognize the four faces carved into rock in the picture above. It's an image of Mount Rushmore, one of South Dakota's most famous attractions.

From left to right, it shows George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, all landmark presidents in US history. While these men are seared into the public imagination, some of the colleges below might not be.

But that's not because of any lack of quality. Out of the thousands of colleges and universities in the country, it's hard to keep track of them all. That's why we've put together this ranking. We've listed the best colleges in South Dakota, so that if you're considering going to school in the Mount Rushmore State, you can have an idea of what your options are. And, if you're interested in the Best Online Schools in South Dakota, we've got those too!

Of course, this ranking shouldn't be the be-all, end-all of your college decision. We highly recommend reading other sources and visiting campuses, which will help account for what our statistical analysis cannot.

What are the best colleges in South Dakota?

Speaking of statistical analysis, you're probably wondering how we came up with our ranking. The numbers are based on three important factors: institutional excellence, which examines academic factors like admission rates and student-to-faculty ratio; return on investment, which weighs cost against expected early career salary; and student satisfaction, which is an aggregate of the reviews actual students have written about their on-campus experience. Our data comes from IPEDS, U.S. News & World Report, Payscale, and college websites.

Rankings 

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Augustana University

  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Augustana University offers 56 programs that meet the needs of a variety of degree-seekers. Today, 242 learners enroll in online classes at the school, while more choose in-person options on the Sioux Falls campus. Students benefit from diverse programs that meet unique career goals.

Tuition varies by student location and degree type. Scholarships and grants help learners cover costs with less debt. Many of the school's programs also accept transfer credits, letting degree-seekers take some basic courses at other institutions.

Augustana University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $33,430

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $33,430

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $34,000

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $34,000

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 100%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: Unknown

Average Tuition
In-state
$33,430
Out-of-state
$33,430
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
2,113
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Colleges In South Dakota

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

  • Rapid City, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, degree-seekers select from 52 subject areas. Today, 114 learners enroll in online classes at the school, while more choose in-person options on the Rapid City campus. Degree-seekers benefit from diverse programs that meet unique career goals.

Tuition varies depending on the degree level and type. Learners use scholarships and grants to lower their degree costs. The school's transfer credit policy allows enrollees to meet graduation requirements with prior college experience.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,610

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,920

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,920

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $15,900

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 92%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,388

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,610
Out-of-state
$11,920
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
2,525
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Colleges In South Dakota

University of South Dakota

  • Vermillion, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of South Dakota offers 172 subject areas in its degree-granting programs. The Vermillion campus operates in-person classes, and learners can also join 4,939 enrollees taking online classes. Degree candidates prepare for diverse career paths in the school's many programs.

Tuition varies depending on the student's circumstances. Learners can use scholarships and grants to lower their degree costs. The school's transfer credit policy allows degree-seekers to meet graduation requirements with prior college experience.

University of South Dakota at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,697

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,172

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $6,062

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,656

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 94%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,558

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,697
Out-of-state
$11,172
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
9,920
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Northern State University

  • Aberdeen, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Northern State University meets the needs of diverse students by offering 69 programs. The Aberdeen campus offers in-person classes, and the school also welcomes 1,958 distance learners to its online programs. With many options, learners can find a program that best fits their interests and schedule.

Tuition varies by student location and degree type. Degree-seekers may qualify for loans, scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. A generous transfer credit policy makes it easier for those with prior college experience to complete a degree.

Northern State University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,540

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $10,611

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $5,939

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,088

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 96%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,992

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,540
Out-of-state
$10,611
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
3,427
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Colleges In South Dakota

University of Sioux Falls

  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of Sioux Falls offers 67 programs in diverse academic fields. The Sioux Falls campus offers many programs, with additional online programs that enroll 779 learners. Students can find a program that matches their unique interests and career goals.

Tuition varies depending on the location and degree type. Learners may cover their educational expenses with scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. Those with prior college experience can also submit a transcript for a transfer credit evaluation.

University of Sioux Falls at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $18,610

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $18,610

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,020

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $7,020

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 99%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: Unknown

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,610
Out-of-state
$18,610
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
1,675
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Mount Marty College

  • Yankton, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Mount Marty College offers 54 programs in diverse academic fields. In addition to 355 distance learners currently enrolled at the school, degree-seekers also attend classes on the Yankton campus. Students benefit from several programs that prepare them for diverse careers.

Tuition varies depending on the degree level and type. Scholarships and grants help learners lower the cost of their degree. The school's transfer credit policy allows those with prior college experience to receive credit for their learning.

Mount Marty College at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $25,976

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $25,976

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $6,825

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $6,825

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 99%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: Unknown

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,976
Out-of-state
$25,976
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
1,049
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Colleges In South Dakota

South Dakota State University

  • Brookings, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At South Dakota State University, degree-seekers can choose from 196 programs. The school enrolls learners on its Brookings campus and also welcomes 4,358 distance learners to the student body. Learners can choose from many options depending on their interests, schedules, and career goals.

The degree level and type affect the tuition rate. Degree-seekers can apply for scholarships and grants to lower the net cost of their degree. Those with prior college experience can use transfer credits to meet graduation requirements.

South Dakota State University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,697

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,172

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $8,083

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $15,541

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 93%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,625

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,697
Out-of-state
$11,172
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
11,512
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Dakota Wesleyan University

  • Mitchell, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Dakota Wesleyan University offers 63 programs in diverse academic fields. From its Mitchell campus, the school offers in-person and online programs, with a total online enrollment of 135 students. Degree candidates can find options here to prepare for many careers.

The school's tuition rate varies depending on the degree level and enrollment option. Scholarships and grants help learners cover costs with less debt. Many of the school's programs also accept transfer credits, letting degree candidates take some basic courses at other institutions.

Dakota Wesleyan University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $27,700

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $27,700

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $14,400

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $14,400

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 100%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: Unknown

Average Tuition
In-state
$27,700
Out-of-state
$27,700
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
880
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Dakota State University

  • Madison, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At Dakota State University, degree-seekers can enroll in 59 programs with online and on-campus formats. In addition to 2,206 distance learners currently enrolled at the school, learners also attend classes on the Madison campus. Students prepare for diverse careers in the school's many programs.

The school's tuition rate varies depending on the location and degree type. Degree-seekers can cover the cost of tuition with loans, scholarships, and grants. Those with prior college experience can use transfer credits to meet graduation requirements.

Dakota State University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,541

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $10,611

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $5,939

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,088

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 93%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,729

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,541
Out-of-state
$10,611
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
3,268
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Best Colleges In South Dakota

Black Hills State University

  • Spearfish, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Black Hills State University meets the needs of a variety of different degree-seekers through its 86 programs. The Spearfish campus offers in-person programs, while the school also enrolls 2,249 learners in its online programs. Degree candidates prepare for diverse careers in the school's many programs.

The school's tuition rate varies depending on the enrollment option and degree level. Learners can use financial aid to lower their degree costs. Degree-seekers with prior college experience can use transfer credits to fulfill graduation requirements.

Black Hills State University at a Glance:

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $7,878

Undergraduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $11,024

Graduate Yearly Tuition In-State: $8,384

Graduate Yearly Tuition Out-of-State: $8,384

Percent of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 91%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded per Student: $4,127

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,878
Out-of-state
$11,024
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
3,858
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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