Best Small Colleges in South Dakota 2022

Best Small Colleges in South Dakota 2022

Small colleges in South Dakota are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

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

South Dakota's Best Small Colleges and Universities Badge
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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in South Dakota is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified 8 small colleges in South Dakota. The list below of the best small colleges in South Dakota. To be included schools must fully accredited, and must have student body populations below 5,000 students.

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Best Small Colleges in South Dakota 2022

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees




    Student body


    What is National American University known for?

    National American University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    National American University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Management
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Paralegal Studies
    • Required Credits: 180.5
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Professional Legal Studies
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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South Dakota’s Best Small 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 utilized 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. Northern State University
  2. Augustana University
  3. Black Hills State University
  4. Dakota Wesleyan University
  5. University of Sioux Falls
  6. Dakota State University
  7. Mount Marty University