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The University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD is a medium-sized institution with 7,500 undergraduate students. For academics, USD has a broad list of offerings that include areas such as art and design, communications, education, business, health and wellness, and science, among others. To bolster the usual course offerings, USD offers an undergraduate research program, honors classes, service Learning, and a first-year experience program that helps orient students to the otherwise dizzying array of options and opportunities available at USD.

Overview of University of South Dakota

Once classes are done for the day, USD students like to unwind with recreational and other activities. The campus Wellness Center is where students meet to engage in fun fitness activities. The WC offers a full range equipment and resources including weights, cardio machines, racquetball courts, an indoor track, and a pool for laps. Students can also participate in E-Sports, a wide range of clubs, or take a climb on the popular climbing wall. Campus life is further enriched with a full schedule of arts, music, and other cultural events designed to provide entertainment and non-academic enrichment.

Since students can't learn on an empty stomach, the USD campus has many culinary delights on the menu. Students can choose between popular national chain restaurants, all-you-can-eat cafeterias, or they can pick up something fast at one of three on-campus convenience stores.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting Town: Distant
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 15:1
Graduation Rate 59%
Year Founded 1862

Student Enrollment

Total Students9,920


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,766
Female 4,709

Graduate Student

Male 905
Female 1,540

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Male 1,624
Female 2,810


Male 1,364
Female 2,473

Acceptance Rate86%

Male 84%
Female 88%

Enrollment 1,297

Male 448
Female 849
Application Fee $20
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Considered But Not Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Considered But Not Required
Application Deadline February 1
Common Application Accepted No

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The University of South Dakota is a public school that is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange. This means that South Dakota residents, and many in the Western States, are able to attend at a lower rate than those from back east or elsewhere. Thus, for in-state students, the cost of tuition, fees, books, and supplies is around $10,500, which is competitive with many other public universities. Out-of-state students who aren't part of the WUE pay around $13,000.

Once living expenses are tallied, South Dakotans and WUE students pay a total of $23,500 for on-campus living and non-residents pay $27,000. Off-campus living is considered to be slightly more expensive and subject to availability and individual taste, etc. However, these gross costs are not the full story.

Once financial aid is factored into the equation, the resulting net cost of a USD education becomes even more affordable. The average net cost for USD is then $18,000. Lower income students pay a bit less, with a net cost of $14,500 and the top income bracket pays $20,000 for a year of quality education. This is in no small part due to the fact that 76% of students receive financial aid that averages $5,000 per student. Student loans also help, and 68% take loans in amounts that average under $8,000 per student.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $17,689
Average Total Aid $5,208
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Room & Board $8,409

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $9,332
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $12,807
  • Books and Supplies - $1,200
  • Room & Board - $8,409
  • Other - $4,458


The University of South Dakota is a renowned academic institution for a reason. Quite simply, they earn their reputation and prove it with educational statistics such as their retention rate, graduation numbers, and their surprisingly small class sizes. The retention rate is a figure that universities use to demonstrate how they maintain their students year-after-year. USD reports a stellar retention rate of 78%, meaning that the majority of their full-time first-year students return for a second year. They also report that nearly half of their part-time students return to campus for their second year as well. After that second year, students seem to maintain their enthusiasm for USD and eventually graduate. Thus, almost 60% of students graduate from the Vermillion campus and another 27% transfer to other institutions. This would indicate that 87% of USD students are armed with the academic fortitude to complete a degree.

This fortitude is surely bolstered by the school's solid student-to-faculty ratio, which is 15 to 1. This figure rivals colleges that are less than half the size, and often many times the price. USD students find that their instructors are accessible and that they can pursue independent learning with ease.

Student Population Total

Student Population 9,920

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

Health Professions and Related Programs 419 Total Graduates / 33%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 195 Graduates
Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences, General 93 Graduates
Clinical/Medical Social Work 39 Graduates
Dental Hygiene/Hygienist 36 Graduates
All Business Majors 200 Total Graduates / 16%
Accounting 58 Graduates
Business Administration and Management, General 56 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 31 Graduates
Finance, General 30 Graduates
All Education Majors 178 Total Graduates / 14%
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 90 Graduates
Elementary Education and Teaching 59 Graduates
History Teacher Education 13 Graduates
Mathematics Teacher Education 7 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 80 Total Graduates / 6%
Biomedical Sciences, General 53 Graduates
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 27 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 69 Total Graduates / 5%
Mass Communication/Media Studies 57 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 12 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 25%

Outcome & Salary

Future and current students at The University of South Dakota often wonder where their degrees will lead. Outcomes are on their minds when they write checks for tuition and books. Luckily for them, USD students fare well after graduation. When reviewing the top earning majors, the registered nursing students report the highest median income of $55,000. Rounding out the top-ten earning majors are the criminal justice students who report a median, early-career salary of $35,000.

In the middle of the pack are business, healthcare, and education students who report earnings in the low-to-mid $40,000 range. Given that a USD education has prepared them well, it's certain that they will soon see raises and promotions, if not a return to graduate school, which will help boost their long-term earnings.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $51,500
College Grads Average Salary $62,989
College Grads Mid Career Salary $71,100
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $629,890
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,340,890
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $70,756
10 Year Projected ROI $559,134
20 Year Projected ROI $1,270,134
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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