While South Dakota is among one of the largest states by area, it is also among one of the smaller states in population density. In 2013, South Dakota had 31 post-secondary schools and an estimated 75,000 students enrolled in degree seeking programs. Today, nine of the state’s four-year universities offer online degree programs, including South Dakota State University which provides a number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees to distance learners.
South Dakota public schools experienced a spike in tuition costs between 2004 and 2014, with a 49% increase among two-year public schools and a 40% increase among four-year schools. Taking a closer look at recent trends, tuition increased 20.5% between 2008 and 2013 at four-year public schools, whereas other states at the high end of the spectrum experienced an 80% increase in fees during the same time. This inflation increase can be partially credited to an 18.4% decrease in state funding for higher education between 2008 and 2014. Despite rising tuition costs, enrollment in South Dakota public institutions has continued to increase. Between 2002 and 2012, the state experienced an overall 14% increase in enrollment, slightly lower than the 19% national average. South Dakota institutions have a 48.4% graduation rate and a 71.7% first year student retention rate.
Find more information on South Dakota’s distance learning degree programs in our extensive school database below. In the Higher Education Initiatives section, you’ll find information on scholarships and financial assistance programs, such as the South Dakota Education Access Foundation. This Foundation is committed to assisting low income and disadvantaged students find scholarships and funding for higher education.