Best Public Colleges in South Dakota 2022

Best Public Colleges in South Dakota 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in South Dakota provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Colleges and Universities in South Dakota

Almost 20 higher education institutions award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the state, and only two schools exceed 5,000 in student population. The average college tuition in the state is $8,450, which is under the national average. Of the 11 public institutions, South Dakota State University is the largest with just over 10,000 students, and it has a tuition of $9,000.

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With a comparable tuition, the University of South Dakota is the second largest and located in Vermillion. Students can earn degrees in areas such as earth science, physics, and engineering. Eight private schools offer degrees ranging in tuition from $3,000 to $33,000. Many of these universities are religiously affiliated, Augustana University being the largest and most expensive. This Lutheran university is located in Sioux Falls and offers programs in economics, psychology, and biology. The most affordable colleges, Oglala Lakota College and Sinte Gleska University, are both tribal institutions charging $3,000 in fees.

Two monuments are carved into the rock of the Black Hills: Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. In addition to its majestic mountains, South Dakota’s lands are some of the richest in fossils. Badlands National Park is home to unique rock formations as well as the fossils of saber-toothed cats, three-toed horses, and ancient marine animals. With vast plains and unique mountains, South Dakota offers a stunning setting for students looking to earn their degree in The Mount Rushmore State.

Find out more about the top programs and higher education opportunities available in South Dakota.


What are South Dakota’s Colleges & Universities?

South Dakota’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 5 public universities in South Dakota. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in South Dakota, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in South Dakota 2022

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    University of South Dakota’s Online Degrees

    BS Addiction Counseling and Prevention
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Psychology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Disaster Response
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Economics
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/22

    South Dakota State University’s Online Degrees

    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Geographic Information Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS/BA Geography
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Early Education and Care
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Human Development and Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1070/21

    Black Hills State University’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Corporate Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Economics and Finance
    • Entreprenurial Studies
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Tourism & Hospitality
    • Professional Accountancy
    • Military Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1137/22

    What is Dakota State University known for?

    Dakota State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    Dakota State University’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Business Technology
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Computer Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Cyber Leadership and Intelligence
    Degree Concentrations
    • Digital Forensics
    • World Affairs and Human Behavior
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Cyber Operations
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Artificial Intelligence
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Artificial Intelligence in Organizations
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSEd Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSEd Elementary Education/Special Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Information Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Network and Security Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Northern State University’s Online Degrees

    BS Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Banking and Financial Services
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA International Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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South Dakota’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of South Dakota
  2. Northern State University
  3. South Dakota State University
  4. Black Hills State University
  5. Dakota State University