Online Degree Programs in South Dakota

The South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR) is responsible for governing the state’s six public universities. South Dakota alsohas 19 four-year schools and 12 technical and community colleges. South Dakota State University (SDSU) is the largest university in the state.. It was founded in 1881 and is the state’s land-grant university. The U.S. News & World Report ranked SDSU 199th nationally and also recognizes it for its online graduate degree programs.

Another notable university is the University of South Dakota (USD). It was founded in 1862 and is the oldest public postsecondary educational institution in the state. Like SDSU, it is also ranked 199th in the nation by the U.S. News and is recognized for its online masters degree programs. Furthermore, USD is home to the only law school in South Dakota, making it many residents’ first choice for law education.

Online higher education is imperative in a state like South Dakota, where much of the state is rural. Such distance can create gaps in higher education attainment solely because students do not have access to it. As such, South Dakota has seen huge growth in those enrolled in online college degree programs and courses, according to the SDBOR. Much of South Dakota’s success with online education can be credited to the state’s Electronic University Consortium (EUC). This movement enables students of all academic levels to participate in distance education compiled by the state’s eight public schools with online degree programs.

South Dakota Distance Learning Initiatives

The EUC is perhaps South Dakota’s most important distance learning initiative. Distance learners can choose from 12 online associate degree programs, nearly 30 online bachelors degree programs, and various online master’s degree programs. Essentially, the EUC makes an online education not only available to students, but gives them a wide variety of options in terms of discipline area and education level. Degrees are not the only academic programs offered to students; distance certificate programs also provide students with ample room for career growth and skill development.

South Dakota has participated in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a collaboration of 15 states that work to make higher education accessible in the West, for decades. During South Dakota’s participation in WICHE it has worked with the organization on several initiatives including one specifically related to online education, the Internet Course Exchange (ICE). This exchange program affords distance learners with a wide variety of online courses and programs through cooperation with other ICE members. No college or university offers the courses or programs every student desires. This program makes it possible for distance students to earn the degree or take courses that interest them most by not limiting them to a single institution.