Best Value Colleges in South Dakota

When you think of best value colleges, South Dakota may not be the first state you name, but this rugged and sparsely populated state is home to some really high value schools.

Using PayScale's College ROI Report, you can determine which school provides the best college return on investment South Dakota can offer you.

The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is the best value college South Dakota students can choose in terms of long-term monetary gains.  Read More

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1South Dakota School of Mines & Technology(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$718,000
Total 4 Year Cost$85,700
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
2South Dakota School of Mines & Technology(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$708,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Grad Rate54%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,200
3Dakota State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$514,000
Total 4 Year Cost$69,900
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,900
4Dakota State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$506,000
Total 4 Year Cost$78,000
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,900
5South Dakota State University (SDSU)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$283,000
Total 4 Year Cost$80,900
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,500
6South Dakota State University (SDSU)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$275,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,400
Grad Rate57%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$29,500
7University of South Dakota(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$191,000
Total 4 Year Cost$79,000
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,100
8University of South Dakota(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$183,000
Total 4 Year Cost$87,500
Grad Rate56%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$28,100
9University of Sioux Falls (USF)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$153,000
Total 4 Year Cost$141,000
Grad Rate53%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,000
10Northern State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$141,000
Total 4 Year Cost$74,400
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
11Northern State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$133,000
Total 4 Year Cost$82,400
Grad Rate44%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,200
12Augustana College - Sioux Falls, SD(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$122,000
Total 4 Year Cost$150,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$36,800
13Black Hills State University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI($24,000)
Total 4 Year Cost$72,400
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,400
14Black Hills State University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI($32,000)
Total 4 Year Cost$80,600
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$25,400

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Its high ROI -- $718,000 over 20 years -- makes perfect sense when you look at the list of majors offered. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology only offers majors in engineering, science, technology and math, so graduates easily find high-paying work in engineering and tech. It's one of the best STEM-focused public colleges in the nation and has a small student population of just 2,300 total students.

The second-ranked South Dakota school on PayScale's College ROI Report is Dakota State University, which is an absolute bargain at a four-year cost of $69,900 for in-state students, and $75,300 for out-of-state students. The 20 Year Net ROI for this public university is $514,000 without financial aid, and $528,000 with it. Interestingly, the school focuses heavily on technology, to the point it requires all full-time undergraduate students to use tablet computers and laptops in their classes.

Still looking for the best value of college education in South Dakota? The next school on our list of highest college ROIs in South Dakota shows a much smaller, but still very respectable, 20-year net ROI of $283,000. South Dakota State University (SDSU) is a public college attended by more than 12,000 students. South Dakota State University is also dominated by science, technology, engineering and math, but offers a much wider range of majors, including some humanities subjects. SDSU also offers a wide variety of online programs.

But it's not all best value colleges in South Dakota. On the opposite side of the ROI spectrum, Black Hills State University has a negative ROI. Despite being a relatively affordable public college, BHSU doesn't see high earnings because the vast majority of majors there are arts, humanities, psychology and education. While noble subjects, when we only include bachelor's degree graduates, earnings just don't compare to those of STEM majors.