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2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota

15 Colleges
$36,980 Avg Salary*
26% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

It's not easy to decide which college to attend when you have so many options available. Our mission at College Factual is to arm you with as much information as we can to help you make that decision. Our Top South Dakota Schools ranking is one tool we have developed to help in this regard.

We analyzed 15 colleges and universities across South Dakota to determine which were the best in terms of overall quality. Our ranking is based on over 20 objective factors, including post graduate earnings, freshman retention, and graduation rate. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

Customizing Your List

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

One of our other unique offerings is College Combat. This tool lets you build your own customized comparisons utilizing the factors that are most important to you. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head!

Top Colleges in South Dakota

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Our 2022 rankings named Augustana University the best school in South Dakota in terms of overall quality for students working on their bachelor’s degree. Augustana University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that handed out 690 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from Augustana Sioux Falls make an average of $43,700 a year.

Read full report on Augustana University

#2

Lake Area Technical Institute

Watertown, South Dakota

Out of the 15 schools in South Dakota that were part of this year’s ranking, Lake Area Technical Institute landed the #2 spot on the list. Located in Watertown, South Dakota, the small public school handed out 605 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $36,900 during the early years of their career..

Full Lake Area Technical Institute Report

#3

Mount Marty University

Yankton, South Dakota

Out of the 15 schools in South Dakota that were part of this year’s ranking, Mount Marty University landed the #3 spot on the list. Located in Yankton, South Dakota, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 224 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.6%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Mount Marty go into careers with an average salary of $36,600 during the early years of their career.

Full Mount Marty University Report

#4

South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend South Dakota State University. It ranked #4 on our 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota list.Brookings, South Dakota is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 2,663 students in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 3.8%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from South Dakota State make an average of $44,400 a year.

Read More…

#5

Southeast Technical College

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

A rank of #5 on our Best Colleges in South Dakota list means Southeast Technical College is a great place for students working on their bachelor’s degree.Sioux Falls, South Dakota is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 614 students in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Southeast Tech make an average of $38,200 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Southeast Technical College

#6

Mitchell Technical College

Mitchell, South Dakota

With a ranking of #6, Mitchell Technical College did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota list.Mitchell, South Dakota is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 308 students in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Mitchell Tech go into careers with an average salary of $39,700 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Mitchell Technical College

#7

University of South Dakota

Vermillion, South Dakota

University of South Dakota did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking, coming in at #7. USD is a medium-sized public school situated in Vermillion, South Dakota. It awarded 2,248 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.8%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from USD go into careers with an average salary of $42,000 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#8

Dakota State University

Madison, South Dakota

Dakota State University did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking, coming in at #8. Located in Madison, South Dakota, the small public school handed out 559 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Dakota State go into careers with an average salary of $38,700 during the early years of their career.

Read More…

#9

Northern State University

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Northern State University ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges in South Dakota list. NSU is a public institution located in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The school has a small population, and it awarded 361 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from NSU go into careers with an average salary of $35,300 during the early years of their career.

Read full report on Northern State University

#10

University of Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

University of Sioux Falls landed the #10 spot on the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking. University of Sioux Falls is a small private not-for-profit school located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that handed out 569 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from University of Sioux Falls make an average of $40,100 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on University of Sioux Falls

#11

Dakota Wesleyan University

Mitchell, South Dakota

With a ranking of #11, Dakota Wesleyan University did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota list. Dakota Wesleyan University is a small private not-for-profit school located in Mitchell, South Dakota that handed out 201 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

During the early years of their career, graduates from Dakota Wesleyan University make an average of $37,200 a year.

Read More…

#12

Black Hills State University

Spearfish, South Dakota

Black Hills State University did quite well in the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking, coming in at #12. This small public school is located in Spearfish, South Dakota, and it awarded 515 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $35,900 during the early years of their career..

Read full report on Black Hills State University

#13

Western Dakota Technical Institute

Rapid City, South Dakota

With a ranking of #13, Western Dakota Technical Institute did quite well on the 2022 Best Colleges in South Dakota list. Western Dakota Technical Institute is a small public school located in Rapid City, South Dakota that handed out 202 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $33,800 during the early years of their career..

Full Western Dakota Technical Institute Report

#14

National American University - Rapid City

Rapid City, South Dakota

National American University - Rapid City came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking. National American University - Rapid City is a private for-profit institution located in Rapid City, South Dakota. The school has a small population, and it awarded 608 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty rate of 7 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from National American University - Rapid City make an average of $34,500 per year during the early years of their career.

Read full report on National American University - Rapid City

#15

Oglala Lakota College

Kyle, South Dakota

Oglala Lakota College came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in South Dakota ranking. Oglala Lakota College is a small public school located in Kyle, South Dakota that handed out 174 bachelor’s degrees in 2019-2020.

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Oglala Lakota College make an average of $17,700 per year during the early years of their career.

Read More…

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 15 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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