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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, the four-year colleges in South Dakota include 9 public and 8 private non-profit options.


    For the 2022-23 school year, the average in-state tuition for public four-year colleges in South Dakota is $9,295, according to College Board.


    In the U.S., full-time undergraduate students attending college in 2021-22 received an average of $15,330 per year in financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best brick-and-mortar colleges in South Dakota. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) — this organization examines the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of postsecondary education programs in the central United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission standards, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the resources and services provided for on-campus students. Then, we used this information to calculate the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Colleges in South Dakota

Best Colleges In South Dakota

University of South Dakota

South Dakota State University

Augustana University

Dakota State University

Mount Marty University

Black Hills State University

Northern State University

Sinte Gleska University

Oglala Lakota College

University of Sioux Falls

Dakota Wesleyan University

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Presentation College

Southeast Technical College

Sisseton Wahpeton College

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What You Should Know About Graduating From College in South Dakota

Considering what job opportunities will be available to you after graduation is important for choosing where you’ll go to college. The top five industries in South Dakota are office and administrative support occupations, sales, food preparation and serving, transportation and material moving, and healthcare practitioners.

There are many positions available for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in South Dakota. According to CareerOneStop, the five fastest-growing careers in South Dakota for this education level are information security analysts, middle school career/technical education teachers, data scientists, software developers, and architects.

You should also research the largest employers in South Dakota to get an idea of what industries and sectors are based in the state. The top employers in South Dakota include Sanford Health, Smithfield Foods, Larson Manufacturing, the Watertown School District, and 3M.

What’s Next?

To cover the financial costs associated with higher education, consider applying for federal and state financial aid. Below are resources to assist you in applying for scholarships, grants, and work-study programs in South Dakota:

  • South Dakota Board of Regents. This organization’s website provides comprehensive information about the colleges and universities in South Dakota and how to apply for financial aid to cover academic-related costs.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, FAFSA is the main form students use to apply for financial aid for college. To determine if you’re eligible for aid, submit a completed FAFSA form online.
  • CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder. This tool will show you available scholarships, grants, and loans and can be filtered by state and degree type. It includes information such as dollar amounts, how to apply, qualifications, deadlines, and contact details.

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