Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Updated November 3, 2022

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From community colleges and large universities to specialty colleges for members of the Sioux tribe, South Dakota has much to offer students looking to further their education. Career-oriented studies include agriculture, finance and high tech, mirroring some of the state's key industries. Technology infuses the educational landscape, with online learning programs offering broad options for students seeking a variety of different degrees offered in flexible settings. Private and public universities both offer online degrees, certificates and courses, but public institutions provide more opportunities than nonprofit private colleges. Dakota State University, South Dakota State and University of South Dakota are some of the biggest public schools by enrollment, and their online programs reflect that breadth with multiple baccalaureate, graduate and certificate programs. While South Dakota offers some online learning opportunities for K-12 students, most of these students do not have a public, fully-online education available to them.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Best Online Colleges in South Dakota 2020

  • 2-Year Colleges
  • 4-Year Colleges

In South Dakota, roughly 40% of college students took at least one online course in 2015. The state offers diverse online programs, including top-level undergraduate and graduate degrees, technical training, professional development, and adult education. Online programs give students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. They also allow students to attend the top programs in the country without relocating.

This guide covers important information for students considering online schools and colleges in South Dakota, including financial aid opportunities, programs and resources for nontraditional students, and the importance of accreditation.

#1 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

South Dakota State University

  • Brookings, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

South Dakota State University delivers online degrees that prepare enrollees for professional roles in a variety of fields. Of the school's student body, 4,358 study online. Programs that run online feature more flexibility than most in-person programs, allowing busy enrollees to complete program requirements at their convenience.

Degree-seekers can expand their professional network by connecting with peers through the virtual learning platform. Experiential learning opportunities include internships and original research projects. Students can take advantage of institutional resources including career services and academic advising. To prepare to secure employment after graduation, learners can participate in career workshops and mock interviews.

Program costs vary based on the student's field. Admissions counselors can provide detailed cost information and help applicants understand the amount they should budget for their education. Enrollees who need additional funding can pursue federal student loans, which typically offer better terms than private loans.

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

#2 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Northern State University

  • Aberdeen, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Among Northern State University's academic offerings are excellent online programs that allow students to earn their degree remotely. Students throughout the country can pursue the public school's 14 online programs. While studying remotely, the institution's 1,958 online learners complete rigorous coursework to prepare for the workforce.

Distance learners connect with fellow colleagues, faculty members, and staff through a virtual classroom environment. Although requirements vary by program, online degree-seekers complete general education coursework and advanced classes in their field. With many course options, students can seek help from academic advisors to select classes aligning with their long-term goals. Many enrollees pursue internships to gain professional experience, which can make them more competitive for positions after graduation.

The financial aid office provides details about the various available funding options, which can make higher education more accessible. Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for federal grants, scholarships, or work-study programs.

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

#3 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Dakota State University

  • Madison, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus
Regardless of their professional aspirations, enrollees can receive a high-quality education through Dakota State University's online programs. Learners throughout the country can pursue the school's 37 online programs. Working professionals often choose to study online so they can complete coursework on evenings and weekends.

Many instructors maintain virtual office hours, allowing enrollees to seek individual help. Degree-seekers can contribute to their field and enhance their resume by completing original research during their studies. Career services prepare students to obtain a job in their field after graduation.

Students can access career services for help choosing the best professional path. By attending job fairs and career workshops, learners can create a plan to reach their professional goals after graduation.

Many of the institution's programs feature unique fees. Before enrolling, applicants should consider the overall cost of earning a degree and can receive detailed information from an admissions counselor. Enrollees who need additional funding can pursue federal student loans, which typically offer better terms than private loans.

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

#4 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

University of Sioux Falls

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

Students attending University of Sioux Falls can choose from online and in-person academic programs. Along with in-person programs at the Sioux Falls campus, degree-seekers can pursue 10 online programs from the private school. The institution enrolls 779 learners in its online programs and delivers virtual resources to foster their academic success.

Distance learners connect with fellow colleagues, faculty members, and staff through a virtual classroom environment. Learners pursue rigorous coursework in general and advanced classes, preparing them well for the demands of their field. Students discuss their plans with academic advisors to select electives that match their goals and interests. To contribute to their field and gain professional experience, enrollees can collaborate with faculty members on original research projects.

The financial aid office provides information about degree costs and funding options to help applicants create a budget. Students can apply for multiple awards, including need-based grants and merit-based scholarships.

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

#5 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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

Regardless of their professional aspirations, enrollees can receive a high-quality education through South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's online programs. Learners can earn a degree through the school's three online programs without relocating or commuting to campus. Working professionals often choose to study online so they can complete coursework on evenings and weekends.

Enrollees can participate in asynchronous class discussions and email professors for individual assistance. To impress prospective employers, degree-seekers often complete internships and original research during their program. The institution provides resources including career services and academic advising, which help students reach their academic and professional goals. The school's career resources include mock interviews, career workshops, and job fairs.

Depending on their program, educational expenses may include lab fees and technology fees. Applicants can contact an admissions counselor for details about program costs. To minimize student debt, enrollees should apply for any funding for which they are eligible, including federal aid, scholarships, and institutional awards.

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

#6 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Dakota Wesleyan University

  • Mitchell, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Dakota Wesleyan University delivers top-quality educational programming in an online format. In addition to on-campus programs in Mitchell, the school delivers 29 online programs. The flexibility of online programs can benefit learners with personal and professional responsibilities.

Online students at the institution benefit from an online learning community, which can lead to professional connections. To enhance their resume and gain practical skills, learners can pursue internships in their field. Enrollees can access institutional resources such as academic and career guidance, which help individuals succeed in their program and profession. Students nearing graduation can participate in opportunities such as career workshops to prepare to pursue their professional goals.

With assistance from the institution's financial aid counselors, applicants can explore many funding options. Eligible enrollees can earn internal and external funding, including scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. Based on the school's reported information, 100% of the student body receives financial aid of some type.

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

#7 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Black Hills State University

  • Spearfish, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Black Hills State University is a leader in online education. Based in Spearfish, the school educates 2,249 remote enrollees through seven online programs. The flexibility of online programs allow many learners to work full time while earning their degree.

Like on-campus students, those pursuing a degree online receive opportunities to develop connections with classmates and instructors. Degree candidates receive opportunities to collaborate on research projects with professors, bolstering their resume and preparing for careers in their field. Enrollees can discuss their professional prospects with departmental academic advisors and the institution's career counselors. Students nearing graduation can participate in opportunities such as career workshops to prepare to pursue their professional goals.

Financial aid counselors provide insights for applicants exploring funding options and determining the best way to pay for school. Along with need-based aid, enrollees can apply for scholarships based on academic merit. With 91% of the student body receiving financial aid, the school's programs can be very affordable.

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

#8 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Lake Area Technical College

  • Watertown, SD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students who plan to attend school online can consider Lake Area Technical College's remote academic programs. While many degree-seekers enroll in the public school's 15 online programs, others study on campus in Watertown. With rigorous course requirements, the institution's online programs prepare its 1,033 distance learners for professional success.

Distance learners connect with fellow colleagues, faculty members, and staff through a virtual classroom environment. In addition to completing general education requirements, students take advanced courses in their field. Enrollees consult with academic advisors to choose electives that align with their academic and professional goals. Options for gaining professional experience while enrolled include internships and research projects.

Applicants can contact the financial aid office for details about program costs and funding opportunities. Along with institutional awards, students may receive grants and scholarships from organizations in their field.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,904
Out-of-state
$2,904
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,228
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Southeast Technical Institute

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

Online learners at Southeast Technical Institute access high-quality educational programming. Busy students with personal or professional responsibilities often pursue one of the public institution's 11 online programs. Because online programs allow learners to complete coursework according to their schedule, many working professionals choose this format.

Distance learners can benefit from attending instructors' online office hours. By conducting original research while earning their degree, participants can enhance their resume and abilities. The institution delivers resources including academic and career advising to support learners' overall success.

To pay for their education, degree-seekers can consider institutional aid and external funding, such as federal loans and private scholarship programs. The institution's financial aid office helps students explore funding options and reduce the financial burden of earning a degree. To fund their degree, 88% of enrollees use financial aid, and many receive other types of funding.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,146
Out-of-state
$3,146
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,380
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Online Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Mitchell Technical Institute

  • Mitchell, SD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Working professionals and learners with personal responsibilities can earn a degree from Mitchell Technical Institute in a flexible online format. Students can pursue online options or enroll in on-campus programs at the school's campus in Mitchell. At the institution, 266 enrollees choose to complete their studies online.

The college’s online learning community is next to none. Tools such as videoconferencing and discussion boards allow participants to communicate with peers. Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, help students develop their resume and gain practical experience. Institutional resources including online academic advising to help distance learners select classes that match their professional goals. Enrollees gain professional and academic guidance through career workshops, mock interviews, and access to career services and academic advising.

To reduce the financial burden of higher education, eligible students can apply for financial aid. In addition to need-based funding, learners can apply for merit-based awards from the school and third-party organizations. To fund their education, 90% of the institution's enrollees receive financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,872
Out-of-state
$3,872
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,162
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Top Online Programs

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City Spotlight: Colleges in South Dakota

Rapid City, SD

With just over 55 square miles of space, Rapid City holds five colleges, universities and career centers for students looking for higher education options. Along with these institutions, some include programs with distance learning for those who require flexibility and minimal on-campus time. Even colleges with a heavy technical focus use current technology such as video streaming to add elements of online learning.

Colleges and Universities in Rapid City

COLLEGESIZETUITIONTYPE
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology2,721$3,430Public
Western Dakota Technical Institute1,563$3,040Public

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in South Dakota?

Choosing from the abundant online schools and colleges in South Dakota can feel overwhelming. Students can take advantage of resources like SelectDakota and the Electronic University Consortium of South Dakota to help narrow their choices. Students can also review all of the accredited online schools in the state through the following resource.SEARCH ALL ACCREDITED SCHOOLS IN SOUTH DAKOTA

How Much More Do College Grads in South Dakota Make?

Typically, graduates with a college degree earn higher salaries and enjoy more career opportunities than professionals without a degree. Additionally, the following table illustrates that professionals across the country generally make more money with each level of educational attainment that they achieve.

Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.

LESS THAN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAHIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAASSOCIATE DEGREE
$28,756$37,960$44,824
BACHELOR'S DEGREEMASTER'S DEGREEDOCTORAL DEGREE
$62,296$74,568$94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in South Dakota: Tuition and Financial Aid

On average, South Dakota students pay less for their education when compared to the national average. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average undergraduate tuition for in-state students in South Dakota is $8,500, compared to the national average of about $9,000. Additionally, out-of-state students at South Dakota schools pay less than half of the national average.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities

IN-STATE TUITIONOUT-OF-STATE TUITIONNATIONAL AVERAGE
$8,540$12,060$9,037 (In-State)$25,657 (Out-of-State)

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities

TUITIONOUT-OF-STATE TUITIONNATIONAL AVERAGE
$24,219N/A$30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in South Dakota

The tables above do not include education expenses beyond tuition, such as room and board and travel fees. The following list covers several common cost considerations for online students.

  • Technology Fees: Many schools charge distance learners technology fees to help offset the costs of online course administration.
  • Travel Expenses: Some online programs feature on-campus requirements, which may necessitate that students pay for airfare and room and board.
  • In-State Tuition Discounts: Some online programs allow all students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, while others offer tuition discounts to in-state students.
  • Program-specific costs: Certain programs, such as nursing and law enforcement programs, may include certification or background check fees.
  • Exam proctoring: Some online programs require students to take proctored exams, which often come with a proctoring fee.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in South Dakota

To qualify for in-state tuition, students must typically live in South Dakota for at least one year before they plan to begin classes. Students may need to submit proof of residency, such as a South Dakota driver's license, voter registration card, or vehicle registration.

However, some online programs allow all students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. Students should research the residency requirements at each prospective school.

Paying for College in South Dakota: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students in South Dakota can access a variety of financial aid opportunities, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment. We cover several scholarship and grant opportunities for South Dakota students below.

Scholarships for South Dakota College Students

Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Native American South Dakota residents attending an accredited program in agriculture or a related field qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must demonstrate academic merit.

Amount: $500

Apply For Scholarship

Annis I. Fowler/Kaden Scholarship

Who Can Apply: South Dakota residents studying elementary education at an approved, in-state institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA qualify for this scholarship opportunity.

Amount: $1,000

Apply For Scholarship

Marlin R. Scarborough Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Junior students at public universities with a minimum 3.5 GPA qualify for this opportunity. Candidates must submit an essay on their career and education aspirations.

Amount: $1,500

Apply For Scholarship

Needs Based Scholarship

Who Can Apply: South Dakota residents attending an approved college or university who show academic merit and financial need qualify for this opportunity.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

Hagen-Harvey Scholarship

Who Can Apply: These scholarships help Native American South Dakotans pay for school at in-state colleges and universities. Applicants must apply within five years of high school graduation or within a year of military service.

Amount: $6,000

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for South Dakota College Students

Build South Dakota Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Candidates must commit to working for three years in South Dakota in a qualifying field. Qualifying fields include IT, automotive, renewable energy, agriculture, building trades, engineering tech, healthcare, precision manufacturing, and welding. Amount: All expenses paid Apply For Grant

Critical Teaching Need Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who commit to teaching in South Dakota for five years after graduation qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must maintain a 2.8 GPA or better in a teaching program at an approved South Dakota institution. Amount: Varies Apply For Grant

Dakota Corps Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: South Dakota students who commit to working in the state in one of the following fields qualify for this opportunity: nursing, IT, engineering, teaching, and accounting. The time commitment equals the years of money received plus one. Amount: Varies Apply For Grant

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

Who Can Apply: These awards help the most academically gifted South Dakotans pay for school. Candidates must be attending a school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Amount: Up to $6,500 over four years Apply For Grant

Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award

Who Can Apply: Female heads of household can apply these need-based grants toward their first undergraduate degree. Amount: Varies Apply For Grant

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE SCHOOLS

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in South Dakota

Accreditation indicates that a school meets high academic standards with respect to student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic rigor. Attending an accredited school expands employment, education, and financial aid opportunities.

Regional and National Accreditation

Schools may receive national or regional accreditation. Regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions, while national accreditation applies to for-profit, vocational and technical schools. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Various regional accrediting bodies accredit schools based on where the school is located. The Higher Learning Commission accredits South Dakota schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Certain programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, social work, and teaching programs. Some professions require that students hold a degree from an accredited program to qualify for certification or licensure. Students should research the accreditation requirements for their intended career path.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Most schools and programs feature their accreditation status on their websites. Students can also verify accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Online College and Adult Education in South Dakota

Adult learners in South Dakota can take advantage of many resources and programs to help them earn their high school diploma, finish their degree, and learn technical skills. We cover several of these opportunities in the following sections.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in South Dakota

61,000 South Dakotans do not have a high school diploma.

South Dakota and the federal government invest about $1.6 million in adult education annually.

66% of men and 34% of women in South Dakota do not have a high school education.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Adult Education Programs for South Dakota Students

  • SelectDakota: A collective effort of South Dakota's public universities, SelectDakota offers services and resources that help students finish a high school education, select a college program, and earn a college degree.
  • Your Future: This program links South Dakotan adults with education, employment, and training opportunities. The organization's site provides access to job listings, college programs, and helpful news and information.
  • Cornerstones Career Learning: This state-funded organization offers job training and adult education opportunities to South Dakotans. Services include online GED and adult basic education classes, English courses, job development services, and workforce training.

Online College Resources for South Dakota Students

Current and prospective online students in South Dakota can take advantage of many resources to support their studies. The following resources offer information on topics like financial aid opportunities, online program availability, and career planning.

  • Electronic University Consortium of South Dakota: The consortium offers information on the state's online learning opportunities. Students can research programs, find financial aid opportunities, and receive assistance with the admissions process.
  • South Dakota Department of Education: Through this site, learners can access information on South Dakota's financial aid opportunities, mentoring programs, and career and technical education resources.
  • South Dakota Virtual School: This site offers information for students on topics like college readiness and financial aid. It also offers courses that high school students can take to prepare for college.
  • South Dakota Board of Regents: Through this resource, distance learners can learn about residency requirements, financial aid opportunities, campus alerts, and loan forgiveness programs.
  • South Dakota Website: This government website offers links to all of the state's public and private universities, tribal colleges, and technical schools. It also provides access to the state's adult higher education centers.

Search All Accredited Colleges and Universities in South Dakota

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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