Overview of South Dakota Colleges & Schools

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South Dakota is one of the least populous states in the United States even though it covers a fairly large geographic region, and as a result the state is home to only a moderate number of colleges and universities both public and private. Most of these institutions are located in the more populous cities, such as Sioux City, Rapid City and Aberdeen, as well as the capital Pierre. South Dakota is bordered by Minnesota to the east, Iowa to the southeast, Nebraska to the South, Wyoming to the West, Montana to the northwest, and North Dakota to the north. A fairly straightforward highway network allows for travel throughout the state and into neighboring areas, as well as provides access to a number of recreational areas including various points along Lake Oahe, which is of interest for students participating in athletic travel or seeking recreational activities.

Public and Private Colleges in South Dakota

Public institutions in the state are governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, which maintains and funds six universities throughout the state. OF these institutions the oldest is the University of South Dakota, founded in 1862 as the state's land grant institution. The University of South Dakota is also notable for having the state's only medical school and law school. The South Dakota Board of Regents is responsible for all policies and decisions made regarding its member schools. Public institutions tend to have lower tuition and higher enrollment numbers than their private school counterparts as part of their mission to provide quality education to as many qualifying residents as possible.

Public South Dakota institutions include:

Private schools in South Dakota will most likely have an association with a Christian denomination. Some schools will have continuing ties to their respective church, while others may have chosen a broader educational program though acknowledge it as part of their respective histories. These schools tend to offer a liberal arts education focused on providing a balanced course load with an emphasis on a chosen major. Tuition tends to be higher, enrollment is typically low, and student to teacher ratios are excellent, allowing for more personal time with instructors. Of the states not for profit private institutions, the oldest is Augustana College in Sioux City, with a founding date of 1862.

Private South Dakota institutions include:

The state is also home to a number of private colleges and schools that provide short duration, high cost career training programs that assist individuals in entering the work force as qualified professionals upon completion. These programs generally are in high demand fields, and such schools tend to have only a limited number of programs to choose from. Community colleges found in the state will offer similar programs, though generally having more variety and a t a lower cost. Community college programs take between one and two years to complete, resulting a in a certificate or degree. Additionally, community colleges also have programs designed to assist in the transfer of credits and students to four year institutions in order to continue their education.

The most populous city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls, followed by Rapid City.  While the most populous county in South Dakota is Minnehaha County with Pennington County close behind.   If you are interested in visiting the state of South Dakota, consider visiting their state page or the state chapter of the Chamber of Commerce.

Finding the Best College in South Dakota

The lynchpin to getting matched to the perfect college is to intimately understand your educational objectives, learning style, individual strengths, and vocational goals.  Once these key pieces are understood, you simply leverage our proprietary search tools to apply to 4-year colleges and 2-year colleges in South Dakota.  Locate the school variables that are important to you like enrollment trends, academic reputation, tuition, financial aid, student to teacher ratios, sports programs, and college degree options for top ranked South Dakota colleges.

Simply request information from any number of accredited colleges in South Dakota and admissions information will be sent directly to you via MatchCollege.  This process will give you the opportunity to learn more about your qualification, the application process, and the ability to connect with the school’s admissions team when you are ready.

College Degree Breakdown for the State of South dakota

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, NCES, O*NET Online

Doctoral or professional degree 8,370 2.0
Master's degree 7,300 1.7
Bachelor's degree 75,170 18.0
Associate's degree 9,290 2.2
Postsecondary nondegree award 28,230 6.8
Some college, no degree 14,960 3.6
High school diploma or equivalent 148,380 35.5
No formal educational credential 125,820 30.1

Public Universities & Colleges

Image of Public College Campus

There are zero public 4-year state universities and colleges in South Dakota. These four-year institutions predominantly offer bachelor's or higher level programs and some may even include research facilities. See a state-wide list of the state universities and colleges in South Dakota.

Private Universities & Colleges

Image of Private College Campus

In South Dakota there are zero accredited private four-year colleges. Similar to public schools, private colleges and universities offer bachelor's or higher level programs and research opportunities, although they usually have smaller classes and higher tuition. Compare admission requirements and tuition details for private colleges in South Dakota.

Community Colleges

Community College in South Dakota

Community colleges are public institutions that offer low cost, high quality education for residents throughout the state. These schools offer 2-year programs that grant associate degrees or offer training courses in specialized trades. South Dakota" Community colleges also are the number one transfer-out programs available for four-year colleges and universities. Learn more and compare community colleges in South Dakota.

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal Arts Colleges

South Dakota has zero accredited liberal arts colleges. These schools primarily focus on undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences through comprehensive and flexible curriculums. Compare all the liberal arts colleges in South Dakota.

Bible & Christian Colleges

Christian Colleges

Bible and Christian colleges generally provide specialized undergraduate education with a focus on religious or biblical study. There are approximately zero such colleges in South Dakota located throughout the state. See a full list of Christian colleges in South Dakota along with program and tuition information.

Browse Schools by Career in South Dakota

Follow the links below to get information on accredited schools in our database that offer programs or degrees.

Medicine & Healthcare

Law & Criminal Justice

South Dakota College Student Resources

Take the time to learn about the college admissions process and your path to maximizing financial aid with our articles below. The more you know about the college admissions process, the better you can assess a fit for you. Start your research today and we will continue dedicating ourselves to making the process as informative as possible for you.

South Dakota State Educational Resources