South Dakota Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in South Dakota

Any prospective student who is interested in online distance learning should consider an online college in South Dakota. These fully online programs are available through accredited four-year institutions in South Dakota. Numerous online schools in South Dakota grant degrees and certifications that are identical to those granted on campus. Not only are the degrees equivalent, but the faculty, admissions, and tuition costs are comparable as well. South Dakota online colleges are abundant, so to ease the search we’ve cataloged all of the best programs and listed them in one place. Discover all of the possibilities provided by online programs in South Dakota!

Click here to see our methodology.

Dakota State University

820 N Washington Ave, Madison, South Dakota 57042-1799

If a student is looking for one of the online colleges in South Dakota that offers a large and varied list of degree programs, Dakota State University should be at the top of the list. With plenty of graduate programs and even more undergraduate ones, DSU is an excellent school to look into.


Northern State University

1200 S Jay St, Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401-7198

With master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees available online, Northern State University is great for students looking at online colleges in South Dakota. Degrees can be earned in anything from teaching to marketing and even gerontology, and NSU features the biggest guaranteed four-year scholarship in the Midwest.


Black Hills State University

1200 University St, Spearfish, South Dakota 57799-9500

Black Hills State University offers quite a few distance learning programs that are mostly focused on teaching and education. The school even offers unique accelerated programs for students to get out of school and into their careers faster. Out of all the online colleges in South Dakota, Black Hills should definitely be a consideration for future educators.


South Dakota State University

Administration Lane, Brookings, South Dakota 57007-1898

The online school at South Dakota State University is quite extensive, with classes offered in a variety of different fields. You can obtain an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree through SDSU, so the school is a wise choice for students looking for one of the bigger online colleges in South Dakota.


University of South Dakota

414 E Clark St, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069-2390

Since the University of South Dakota is one of the biggest online colleges in South Dakota, it comes as no surprise that their list of available online programs is quite large. Every degree is accredited, and while some programs require you to spend time on campus, others can be completed fully at home.


South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

501 E Saint Joseph St, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701-3995

Utilizing the user-friendly Desire2learn platform, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been consistently working on their already-stellar online program, making it easy for students to be successful in an online learning environment. Mines is a great school for students looking for online colleges in South Dakota that offer courses in construction and engineering.


Presentation College

1500 N Main, Aberdeen, South Dakota 57401-1280

Presentation College is high on the list for online colleges in South Dakota when it comes to medical degrees. Nursing, medical coding and radiology are just a few of the medical degrees that can be obtained online from this awesome Catholic school, so it is definitely worth looking into.


Dakota Wesleyan University

1200 W University Ave, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301-4398

Dakota Wesleyan University only offers two online degree programs, but what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. Both their MBA and RN degrees are accredited and excellent at putting students on the right path toward a successful career in the business or medical world. DWU is worth a look when researching online colleges in South Dakota.

Approach to Online Learning

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

Dakota Wesleyan University has always been a place of community; now DWU offers the adult learner a unique opportunity to become part of the DWU community in a digital format.

The DWU digital campus is a place where the adult student will learn with their peers juggling career, family and personal commitments while remaining dedicated to the challenge of earning a degree. The programs’ asynchronous manner allows students to participate in class discussions, submit coursework and communicate with faculty and classmates anytime during the day or night. More than just a place to go to class online, the digital campus serves as a community in which to develop relationships with peers and faculty members both in and outside of the class environment.

Our distinct tradition of delivering personalized education grounded in our values of learning, leadership, faith and service are present in these online programs. Our commitment to engaging discussions of ethics, values and compassion will remain at the forefront of our online degree programs.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

In addition to the focus on community, the M.B.A. and the Bachelor of Science in nursing are highly practical programs.

For those who have already earned a baccalaureate degree, DWU’s Master of Business Administration program is open to all academic disciplines and professional backgrounds creating a learning experience rich in diversity and perspective. The entrepreneurial and strategic leadership focus of this program is enhanced by a values-driven emphasis that is informed by an active and applied Christian worldview. The DWU M.B.A. is designed for those in small to medium-sized businesses. The program is appropriate for working adults and those who wish to be full-time students.

For registered nurses aspiring to continue their education with an RN-B.S. nursing degree, students will have the opportunity to earn credit for their professional RN experience and complete this degree in as few as 12 months. This degree builds upon previous knowledge and provides the opportunity for students to develop abilities and skills related to the roles of a bachelor's-prepared nurse.

The RN-B.S nursing program includes core nursing courses which focus on enhancing skills in leadership and management; decision making and problem solving; nursing research and evidence-based practice; health promotion; health assessment; service to community; in-depth study of pharmacology; and care of families, populations and communities.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

In the next five years Dakota Wesleyan University will continue to provide programs for adult learners and that diminish the distance between learning and application. DWU plans to add at least one undergraduate program and one graduate level program while also adding personnel in teaching, technology and student support. DWU looks forward to connecting with more alumni who wish to advance their education while developing new partnerships with organizations and professionals. We believe our online programs play a pivotal role in the contributions DWU will offer to South Dakota and our region.

Beyond five years DWU will closely monitor emerging technology’s impact on higher education and adjust accordingly. We will take advantage of new opportunities to share our commitment to student-centered education and our values of learning, leadership, faith and service.


University of Sioux Falls

1101 W 22nd St, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57105-1699

The University of Sioux Falls boasts three core online programs for enrolled students, the most notable being its fully online RN-to-BSN degree program. The college also has a management degree completion program and a K-12 professional development.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in South Dakota

South Dakota is one of those states that have a huge land mass and a very small population. Most of the population lives in the metropolitan areas of places such as Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Still, there are quite a few rural towns through the state as well. Whether living in the country or the city, everyone seems to know that having a good education is going to be very important if you want to make a good living. In fact, 89.5% of the residents in the state have a high school diploma, while 25.1% have at least a bachelor’s degree. 7.3% of the residents have an advanced degree or higher. Quite a few students are looking at affordable online schools in South Dakota as good alternatives to the traditional schools.

Pursuing a Degree in South Dakota

While the state is large, the population is small, as mentioned. This means that the number of traditional brick and mortar schools in the state is going to be smaller as well. Students will find that South Dakota features 11 two-year or more schools, and 15 four-year or more schools. The traditional schools can be a good option for some students, but others will find that the affordable online schools in South Dakota are a much better option. Online schools today are utilizing the best in technology to make sure that their students have a stellar learning experience. You are going to be able to earn everything from an associate’s degree all the way through to your doctorate with online classes.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in South Dakota

Because of the size of South Dakota, getting to one of the schools in the state might not be easy for those who are living in rural areas. This can be especially true during inclement weather. Being able to do all of your schooling right from home is easy and convenient, and you do not have to worry about being late for class. In addition to just how easy it is, you can find many different courses for study as well. Consider the benefits of studying psychology or criminal justice, or even engineering online. Getting a degree in these fields can really help you launch a career that you love. You can also be sure that you are going to be getting a degree that matters when you choose an online and accredited school.

Saving Money with Online Education

When you start to look at the costs of the traditional schools, you will find it often is one reason that potential students decide not to go. The cost of schooling can be higher than some can afford and many do not want to go too deep into debt with student loans. For a two-year public school in the state, it averages out to be $5,159. For a four-year public school, the cost is $7,082. The cost indicated includes the tuition and fees only, and does not even begin to take into consideration the cost of living if you have to stay at the school. Another option might be better for you.

Affordable online programs in South Dakota are more than a mere fad. They are one of the best ways to make sure that you are getting the education that you need and one that you will be able to afford. When you are choosing your online school, make sure that they are able to offer the type of programs that you need. You need to check the reputation of the school and make sure that they have accreditation as well.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in South Dakota
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in South Dakota

If you’re going to college, you want it to pay off. For most students, that means completing a respected degree that pays for its way in future earnings. To help you find an affordable, quality education, we’ve narrowed the list to these top South Dakota schools when it comes to a return on your investment. We used key findings in data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the Carnegie Foundation, and's 2013 College Earnings Report to create our listings based on tuition and post-graduate earnings. Your search starts here:

Click here to see our methodology.
South Dakota Colleges Analyzed: 31
South Dakota Colleges Ranked: 8
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Rapid City $1,228,000 $9,370 Public (In-State)
2 South Dakota State University (SDSU) Brookings $454,000 $7,404 Public (In-State)
3 University of Sioux Falls (USF) Sioux Falls $440,900 $23,740 Private not-for-profit
4 University of South Dakota Vermillion $388,000 $7,704 Public (In-State)
5 Dakota State University Madison $352,500 $7,212 Public (In-State)
6 Augustana College - Sioux Falls, SD Sioux Falls $321,400 $27,780 Private not-for-profit
7 Mount Marty College Yankton $240,600 $22,130 Private not-for-profit
8 Northern State University Aberdeen $110,400 $7,269 Public (In-State)