The Best Online Colleges in South Dakota

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Even though South Dakota is one of the most sparsely populated states, its online colleges offer a variety of degrees in areas such as engineering, health, and general studies. Online programs — including certificates as well as associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees — are available through public and private institutions in South Dakota.

Some South Dakota schools charge online and on–campus students similar tuition, and several online programs cost the same for residents and non–residents. The state university system is also one of the least expensive for nonresidents. Those who live in neighboring states may also qualify for in–state tuition.

Online colleges in South Dakota offer numerous benefits for students. First, most deliver courses asynchronously, meaning that students can log in when it is convenient for their schedule. Second, many programs are designed for working adults, and shorter course terms allow students to complete a year’s worth of credits while only taking a few courses at a time. Third, like their on–campus counterparts, online students receive academic assistance, career services, and advising. Finally, most public and private online colleges offer financial aid for eligible students, including scholarships.

Students working through online degrees never (or rarely) need to visit campus; students working through hybrid programs may combine the convenience of online learning with hands–on teaching through short on–campus residencies. For students interested in taking on–campus classes, some online colleges in South Dakota allow students to mix and match the learning formats that suit them best.

Four Reasons to Find an Online College in Your State

  1. Guaranteed in–state tuition saves you money
  2. Be a part of a university or college you know and love
  3. Get a degree from a school that employers know and trust
  4. Be close enough to easily visit when desired

Ranking Guidelines for the Best Online Colleges in South Dakota

Best Online Colleges in South Dakota
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We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

Note: In ranking the best online colleges in South Dakota, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in South Dakota may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in South Dakota.

The Best Online Colleges in South Dakota

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4

Northern State University 

Aberdeen, SD

About this school

Northern State University, established in 1901, came about due to requests from area citizens for an institute of higher education. Several wealthy citizens donated both land and money toward the school’s establishment once the bill approving the school met state senate approval. The university teaches more than 3,500 students and offers more than 50 programs of study.

Northern State University offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through its Office of Online and Continuing Education. Online associate’s degrees include general studies, gerontology and financial services. Online bachelor’s degree options include marketing, professional accountancy and business administration. Online master’s degree offerings include teaching, leadership and music education.

Resources available to online students include an online job board and an online library with librarians readily available via live chat, email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or over the phone.

5

Black Hills State University 

Spearfish, SD

About this school

Black Hills State University is one of South Dakota’s largest universities with more than 4,500 students from 44 states and 29 countries in attendance. Established in 1883, the university sits on more than 120 acres. Some of the majors the university offers include subjects within the arts, humanities, social science, business, natural sciences, education and behavioral science.

Black Hills State University offers baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs entirely online. Bachelor’s degree options include general studies and business administration. Master’s degree offerings include strategic leadership and Project SELECT. Available certifications include secondary education.

Online student resources include technical support, an online job board and an online library with librarians available via email and over the phone.

6

Presentation College 

Aberdeen, SD

About this school

Presentation College is a Catholic college founded in Mitchell, South Dakota, but moved to Aberdeen in 1951. The institution also operates a campus in Fairmont, Minnesota. Known for its healthcare programs, the college offers an associate of arts degree and associate, bachelor, and master of science degrees in more than 15 academic areas.

PC's distance education program, PC Virtual, offers online bachelor of science and completion degrees in psychology and several other health-related fields. The two BSN programs, LPN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN, are completion degrees. The radiologic technology degree is available as a completion degree or an online associate or bachelor's degree.

7

Dakota Wesleyan University 

Mitchell, SD

About this school

Dakota Wesleyan University educates nearly 1,000 students through over 40 majors and minors and several graduate programs at its campus in Mitchell. Two bachelor's degrees, two graduate programs, and two graduate certificates are available online, delivered asynchronously through the Canvas platform in eight-week terms.

DWU is among the many online colleges in South Dakota that offer financial aid for students. The institution charges tuition per credit, with rates varying by program. Admission requirements also vary by program, though both online bachelor's degrees -- the bachelor of arts completion degree and the RN-to-BSN -- require prospective students to earn an associate degree. The graduate degrees, the master of business administration and master of arts in education, require 36 credits each; students who attend full time with two courses per term can complete the MBA in 12 months and the MA in 15 months.

8

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 

Rapid City, SD

About this school

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, founded in 1885, is a leading engineering and science university, as well as one of South Dakota's online colleges. The Rapid City campus offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, while SD Mines Online includes three online master's programs in engineering.

The online programs, construction engineering and management (CEM), engineering management (EM), and mining engineering and management (MEM), require applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Additionally, the CEM and EM programs specify minimum math and science requirements, and the MEM degree requires an undergraduate engineering degree or significant work experience. The EM and MEM degrees require 32 credits each, and the CEM program requires 33 credits. Classes are charged per credit, with the same rate charged for all online programs, and South Dakota residents are eligible for a significant tuition discount. The only other program costs are the application fee and books.

9

University of Sioux Falls 

Sioux Falls, SD

About this school

Nearly 1,500 students are enrolled at the University of Sioux Falls, which offers over 40 undergraduate majors on its Sioux Falls campus. The university boasts that, within six months of graduation, 98% of graduates are employed in their field.

One of the top online schools in South Dakota, USF offers online professional development, certificates, an online RN-to-BSN degree, and bachelor's degree completion programs in accounting, business, and health administration. Online master's degrees are also available in business and education. Application requirements for the degree completion programs include an associate degree or two years of transferable credit with a minimum 2.0 GPA, as well as an interview and three years of work experience.

10

Lake Area Technical Institute 

Watertown, SD

About this school

Boasting over 20,000 graduates, of whom 98.56% are employed or continuing their education, Lake Area Technical Institute offers degrees in over 20 areas including agriculture, business, transportation, and health-related fields. LATI's 12 online degrees are available in similar academic areas. The online programs are hybrid, requiring some training or clinical experiences on the campus in Watertown, though the amount varies by program.

Like some other online schools in South Dakota, application requirements include an application fee, high school transcripts, and required test scores. Most online programs do not have an application deadline, except for the online nursing program. All prospective students should think about applying early, as programs can fill and there are financial aid and scholarship deadlines. Students who earn their AAS degree at LATI can consider pursuing a bachelor's degree through one of the many program-to-program articulation agreements the college has with public universities in South Dakota, private institutions, and public universities in other states.

11

Mitchell Technical Institute 

Mitchell, SD

About this school

Though a fairly new college, founded in 1968, Mitchell Technical Institute offers 33 programs on the campus in Mitchell, as well as five online programs. The online degrees are available in areas including business and health-related fields. While MTI boasts a 99% job placement rate among graduates, several of the online programs have a 100% placement rate: administrative office specialist, small business management, advanced medical imaging, and speech-language pathology assistant. Prospective students should submit transcripts, applicable test scores, and proof of U.S. residency.

MTI is one of the online colleges in South Dakota that charges the same tuition for online and on-campus courses, and both residents and nonresidents of South Dakota pay the same rate. Several of the degrees offer both a one-year diploma and an AAS option, and most are available entirely online. MTI awards credit for previously earned college credits and experiential learning including certain exams and professional certifications.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in South Dakota

Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in South Dakota
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South Dakotans can save money by beginning their education at an affordable two–year college and transferring to a four–year institution. Those living out–of–state may also attend South Dakota’s online colleges to take advantage of affordable tuition. This ranking provides learners with a list of schools that offer rigorous online programs at an affordable cost.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Programs in South Dakota

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4

South Dakota State University 

Brookings, SD

About this school

South Dakota State University is the largest college in the state. The school hosts approximately 12,000 students on campus and online. Students can opt for hybrid degrees or fully online programs.

SDState's online degrees include a 120-credit BS in early education and care, a collaborative effort between the seven colleges of Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance to train early childhood educators. The program examines subjects such as child development, curriculum development, working with families, and assessing young children to enhance development.

The 120-credit BS in interdisciplinary studies allows students to customize their degree. Many students transfer with general education requirements and use their remaining credits to map out a plan of study that matches their interests. The 120-credit bachelor of general studies also provides a flexible curriculum with 30 ways to customize the degree. Students must transfer in at least 60 credits. They work with faculty to develop a degree plan and culminate the program with a capstone project that demonstrates their proficiencies.

SDState's online degrees also include an RN-to-BSN and a BS in psychology. Admission to SDState, one of the most affordable online colleges in South Dakota, requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

5

Presentation College 

Aberdeen, SD

About this school

Presentation College provides students with an education rooted in a Catholic perspective. Through PC Virtual, students can choose from several online degrees in the health professions.

The LPN-to-BSN enrolls LPNs in Midwestern states such as Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin. This degree-completion option provides nurses with theoretical and clinical knowledge to advance their nursing practice. Students complete a minimum of 121 credits, examining topics such as pharmacology/pathophysiology, adult health nursing, community health, and maternal-child nursing.

The 123-credit BS in radiologic technology teaches students how to use imaging technologies to produce radiographic images. The program, accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, includes coursework in medical terminology; radiological science; image formation, processing, and display; and image analysis and quality improvement. Participants supplement online learning with several clinicals at an approved facility.

The BS in healthcare administration gives learners the skills necessary to supervise the delivery of services in healthcare facilities. In addition to healthcare courses, the program covers general business principles, accounting, and strategic planning.

Students pursuing a degree online on a part-time basis pay the same tuition regardless of residency. That benefit coupled with a comprehensive suite of financial aid opportunities makes Presentation College one of the most affordable online colleges in South Dakota. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in South Dakota

Most Affordable Associate Degrees in South Dakota
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South Dakotans can save money by beginning their education at an affordable two–year college and transferring to a four–year institution. Those living out–of–state may also attend South Dakota’s online colleges to take advantage of affordable tuition. This ranking provides learners with a list of schools that offer rigorous online programs at an affordable cost.

The Most Affordable Online Associate Programs in South Dakota

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4

Western Dakota Technical Institute 

Rapid City, SD

About this school

Western Dakota Technical Institute prepares students for some of the fastest-growing fields in South Dakota. Western Dakota Tech offers several business programs online, including an AAS in accounting. Students can complete the 70-72-credit program in 18 months, studying accounting principles and training in the latest accounting software. The curriculum offers an optional internship opportunity for hands-on learning.

The 63-credit AAS in business technology prepares learners for careers such as store manager, administrative assistant, and entrepreneur. Learners acquire foundational knowledge on subjects such as sales, accounting, desktop publishing, management, and website development.

The 60-credit AAS in library technician teaches students how to catalog, maintain, and retrieve print and electronic library resources. Students examine the latest advancements in library catalogs and databases in public libraries, K-12 libraries, and other settings. The curriculum also examines topics such as library circulation and customer service; children and young adult literature; acquisitions, serials, and processing; and collection development and management.

One of the most affordable online colleges in South Dakota, Western Dakota Tech charges online students the same tuition regardless of residency. Students can access general education peer tutoring at the Student Success Center

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End of list, bravo!

Additional Online Colleges in South Dakota Featured on TBS

Augustana University

Oglala Lakota College

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