South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in Brookings, South Dakota State University is a public university that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus tuition and admission information.

Is South Dakota State University the School for You?

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is located in Brookings, SD, roughly 50 miles from Sioux Falls. This public university is the largest in the state and offers 175 fields of study within 9 colleges. Weigh the pros and cons below to see if you should attend SDSU.


  • Total cost of attendance (including all school and living expenses) is lower than the national average for out-of-state students
  • Acceptance rate is 28.2 percentage points higher than the national average
  • High number of academic programs
  • Student debt following graduation is $3,925 lower than the national average
  • Accepts AP, dual and credit for life


  • Graduation rate is 9 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Student-faculty ratio is 19:1, which is higher than the national average

About SDSU

As a student at South Dakota State University, you'll be able to choose from certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral programs. The university offers 175 academic programs, including 69 undergraduate majors, 43 graduate programs and a number of minors and specializations. If you're looking at distance learning options, you might be interested to know that the school's online graduate education program was ranked #3 by U.S. News & World Report in 2013.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the university accepted 92% of applicants for the 2012-2013 academic year, which was far above the national average of 63.8%. The student-faculty ratio is 19:1, which is higher than the national average of 16:1. The school's 4-year graduation rate was 31% for students who began in 2005, which was just below the national average of 40%, but it jumped to 60% within six years.

SDSU is an inexpensive option for most students. The total cost of attendance for 2012-2013 (including tuition and fees, room and board, books and personal expenses) was $18,616 for South Dakota residents, which was just above the national average of $17,860 for in-state attendees. Out-of-state students could expect to pay $20,562 a year, which was much less than the $30,911 national average. College Board reported that students graduated with $22,735 in debt, which is lower than the national average of $26,660. According to NCES, 4.6% of 2009 graduates had defaulted on their loans within three years of graduation.

Getting In & Financial Aid at SDSU

Although applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, the university recommends that prospective students apply at least 8-10 months before their first semester. You'll need to submit the school's application, your high school transcript and standardized test scores. About 96% of students submit the ACT, and the middle 50% of accepted students in 2011 had a composite ACT score between 19 and 25.

NCES reported that 51% of admitted students chose to attend SDSU for the 2012-2013 academic year. You can expect tuition to vary slightly by program, with the architectural studies and engineering programs among the most expensive. If you need help paying for school, you can apply by January 15 to receive priority consideration for scholarships. You might qualify for aid based on need, state residency, minority status and/or achievement in academics, art, athletics, leadership, music/drama or ROTC. In Fall 2012, 70% of students received financial aid packages that met their full need, according to College Board. If you're entering a graduate program, you might be eligible for a research assistantship or fellowship.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) Rolling**
Financial Aid Priority Application Deadline (2013) March 10***
Notification of Acceptance (2013) Rolling**
Application Fee (2013) $20***
Acceptance Rate (2012) 92%*
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2012-2013) $18,616 for in-state and $20,562 for out-of-state students*
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $8,732***
Percent of Students with Need Fully Met (2012) 70%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012) $22,735***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 4.6%*

Student Life at SDSU

According to 2011 figures from NCES, 52% of SDSU students were female, 63% were South Dakota residents and 1% came from other countries. Roughly 41% of all undergraduates live on campus; you'll be able to choose from 9 residence halls, university-owned apartments, family housing and themed housing based on academic and social interests.

If you're looking to get involved on campus, SDSU offers more than 200 student organizations, 10 Greek chapters and 26 intramural sports teams. The university has 3 libraries, including ones for medical and law students. In addition, SDSU houses an innovation research park, an entrepreneur institute and facilities for agricultural experiments and animal disease research.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Rural***
Student Population (2011) 11,143 undergraduates, 1,582 graduate students*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 52% to 48%*
% of Full-Time Students (2011) 79%*
% of In-State Students (2011) 63%*
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 73% for full-time and 48% for part-time students*
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 41%***
Number of Libraries 3**
Extracurricular Activities Over 200**
Noteworthy Largest university in South Dakota**

Article Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **South Dakota State University, ***College Board

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Box 2201, SAD 200, Brookings, SD 57007
  • Phone: (605) 688-4121