Get Matched With Online Colleges

If you live in or near South Dakota, you may be considering attending Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. This is a small, public university with a student population of just over 3,400 and a somewhat higher student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1. If you visit and walk around the campus, you see that you’ll be able to get from your dorm to each of your classes with little difficulty.

Overview of Northern State University

Like the university, the town of Aberdeen is small and remote. It won’t take long for you to learn your way around and find your favorite spots and eateries. Unfortunately for those looking for a nightlife in the small town, there aren’t likely to be many offerings.

Looking at the classes available, you’ll find that students like you can earn certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, post baccalaureate certificates, and master’s degrees. You may also find that you are able to receive extra credits for several reasons: credit for life experiences, dual credit while you are still in high school, and taking advanced placement classes and passing the exams.

While NSU is an on-campus school, it also offers distance education for those who aren’t able to come to the campus or for those who have conflicting schedules. Undergraduate and graduate students are able to take entire degree programs online.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Remote
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 17:1
Graduation Rate 48%
Year Founded 1901

Student Enrollment

Total Students3,427


Undergraduate Student

Male 1,263
Female 1,745

Graduate Student

Male 176
Female 419

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Male 630
Female 779


Male 523
Female 670

Acceptance Rate84%

Male 83%
Female 86%

Enrollment 343

Male 171
Female 172
Application Fee $20
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted No

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Compared to other state universities, Northern State University’s sticker price is about average. This total price combines every cost you can expect to pay for your education: tuition (in- or out-of-state), room and board, books, supplies, and other various costs. The total is right around $23,000.

In a recent academic year, NSU’s average net price (the cost to the families after financial aid had been received and applied) was $15,575. However, because the net price for each family depends on the amount of financial aid they received (which is based on annual income), your total cost could still be more or less than this average. Families earning between $30,001 and $48,000 paid around $12,861. Families earning between $75,001 and $110,000 paid around $18,678.

All beginning students are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid. This can help immensely with the cost of school. About 320 freshmen qualified for financial aid in a recent year. A few less (288) received an average of $5,167 in grants or scholarships and 237 students received institutional grants and scholarships, averaging $3,155.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $15,575
Average Total Aid $5,167
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Room & Board $8,925

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $8,750
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $11,821
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $8,925
  • Other - $4,200


If you have a scheduling conflict, check with your advisor or the dean of your school and ask about evening classes and distance (online) learning. At Northern State University, you can register for an online class in place of a face-to-face class if you know a daytime class conflicts with a work schedule or other responsibility you must be available for. However, evening classes are not offered here.

You’re going to make a decision about whether to stay at this university or transfer elsewhere. When you make this decision as a freshman to return the next year, the university will add you to its retention rate. The retention rate measures the percentage of first-year students who return for their second year of school. At NSU, the rate is an excellent 73%. This is above average for the nation. The 4-year graduation rate is 31% and the 6-year graduation rate is 52%.

The five most popular degree programs, as shown by the number of conferred awards are business, management, marketing and related support services; education; biological and biomedical sciences; parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies; and social sciences.

Student Population Total

Student Population 3,427

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 94 Total Graduates / 35%
Business Administration and Management, General 39 Graduates
Accounting 21 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 13 Graduates
Banking and Financial Support Services 10 Graduates
All Education Majors 59 Total Graduates / 22%
Elementary Education and Teaching 33 Graduates
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 8 Graduates
Music Teacher Education 7 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 4 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 26 Total Graduates / 10%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 21 Graduates
Ecology 5 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies 25 Total Graduates / 9%
Health and Physical Education/Fitness, General 16 Graduates
Sport and Fitness Administration/Management 9 Graduates
All Social Science Majors 18 Total Graduates / 7%
Sociology 16 Graduates
Economics, General 1 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 1 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 18%

Outcome & Salary

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll be ready to look for a job and hopefully begin your chosen career. Northeastern State University graduate’s early career salaries are $40,300 and their mid-career salaries increase to $58,200.

Based on this, a graduate’s 10-year salary earnings potential is $551,440 and their 20-year earnings potential is $1,133,440. If you subtract the 4-year cost of education ($62,300) from these 10- and 20-year earning potentials, this gives you a 10-year projected return on investment (ROI) of $489,140 and a 20-year ROI of $1,071,140. That’s pretty good!

High school graduates who don’t go to college don’t do as well in general. Their national average salary is $38,792, making their 10-year projected income $387,920 and their 20-year projected income $775,840.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $40,300
College Grads Average Salary $55,144
College Grads Mid Career Salary $58,200
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $551,440
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,133,440
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $62,300
10 Year Projected ROI $489,140
20 Year Projected ROI $1,071,140
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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