Southwest Minnesota State University Reviews and Ranking Awards

Marshall, Minnesota

University Headquarters

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Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) is a public, four-year school. The school is 100 miles east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and 150 miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school has a population of just under 7,200 students and offers certificates, two-year degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees, and even doctorates. The school offers on-campus housing, but students also live off campus in their own apartments or at home with family.

Overview of Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)

The school offers quite a few areas of study but the most popular majors are Early Childhood Education, Business Administration, Exercise Science, Psychology, and Registered Nursing. For those who enjoy cold weather activities, this is a good school, as there is a lot of cold and snowfall roughly five months of the year. As was mentioned, Sioux Falls and Minneapolis are only an hour or two away from campus, so those who want to leave the rural atmosphere can visit larger cities easily. Marshall, the city in which the school is located is the home of Schwann’s the food delivery service.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Remote
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 50%
Year Founded 1963

Student Enrollment

Total Students7,058


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,654
Female 3,982

Graduate Student

Male 169
Female 253

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Top Rankings For Southwest Minnesota State University

Southwest Minnesota State University Reviews

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SMSU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 999
Female 1,246


Male 649
Female 797

Acceptance Rate64%

Male 65%
Female 64%

Enrollment 304

Male 140
Female 164
Application Fee $20
High School GPA Recommended
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Recommended
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
Other Test (Wonderlic,WISC-III,etc) Recommended
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline September 1
Common Application Accepted No

SMSU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Tuition at Southwest Minnesota State sits at around $8,800 per year and, with room and board, the cost of attendance annually is closer to $22,300. This is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. However, almost the entire student body, 97%, receive some sort of financial aid to assist with the cost of their education. Around 70% of the assistance is in the form of grants and scholarships and the remaining funding is through loans, both federal public loans and private loans. The average net price for each student - the average amount that each student is responsible for each year once grants and scholarships have been deducted - is $14,000. So, this means that a student will need $14,000 in loans to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $14,658
Average Total Aid $5,585
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Room & Board $8,278

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $8,874
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $8,874
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $8,278
  • Other - $2,930


The retention rate at Southwest Minnesota State is 67%. This means that for every three incoming freshmen, two of them come back for their sophomore year. For students who do return, 48% of students graduate within six years, while 47% need eight years to complete their degrees and 33% finish in the traditional four years. These statistics reflect that many students are non-traditional, meaning they are working or have families and therefore need longer to graduate. The school has a student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1, so students have the opportunity to get to know their classmates as well as their instructors, and there are better opportunities to communicate with instructors if need be. Combined, these statistics show that students have the chance to make lasting relationships while they are attending school which can be important once they have graduated and need networking connections. It also means that for students who thrive in a smaller school setting, Southwest Minnesota is an excellent choice for them.

Student Population Total

Student Population 7,058

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Education Majors 104 Total Graduates / 23%
Early Childhood Education and Teaching 45 Graduates
Elementary Education and Teaching 16 Graduates
Education, General 12 Graduates
Special Education and Teaching, General 11 Graduates
All Business Majors 83 Total Graduates / 18%
Business Administration and Management, General 36 Graduates
Finance, General 16 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 14 Graduates
Accounting 9 Graduates
Parks, Recreation, Leisure, Fitness, and Kinesiol 58 Total Graduates / 13%
Exercise Science and Kinesiology 50 Graduates
Sports, Kinesiology, and Physical Education/Fitness, General 8 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 44 Total Graduates / 10%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 43 Graduates
Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist 1 Graduates
All Psychology Majors 24 Total Graduates / 5%
Psychology, General 24 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 30%

Outcome & Salary

Although the cost of an education is high, in the case of Southwest Minnesota State, the costs could be worth it. After four years, a student usually has an average of $56,000 in loan debt. However, the average salary for a new graduate from the school is $46,000, and it jumps to $61,200 after several years of employment; by their mid-career it’s $75,000. After 10 years in the workforce, it is estimated that a graduate would have earned over $612,000. This means a student should be able to afford their student loan payments and live a decent life. Obviously, some areas of study are more lucrative than others but, overall, the cost of paying for an education from Southwest Minnesota State University is worth it.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $46,000
College Grads Average Salary $61,239
College Grads Mid Career Salary $75,500
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $612,390
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,367,390
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $58,632
10 Year Projected ROI $553,758
20 Year Projected ROI $1,308,758
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840