Last Updated: September 22, 2021
South Dakota - The Mount Rushmore State
South Dakota is located towards America's mid-western part. The city of Pierre is the capital and Sioux Falls is the largest city in the state. The state's approximate population in the year 2021 is estimated to be nearly 900,000.
South Dakota has a 4-season climate. The temperature highs range between 40°F and 90°F, while the temperature lows go below 0 degree, which depends upon the season. The summers in South Dakota last from June until September and are generally warm; the days are sometimes hot while the nights are comparatively cooler. Because the state experiences a lot of sunshine, the state's nickname was initially supposed to be 'The Sunshine State', the emblem of which was even imprinted on its flag. However, in 1992, in compliance with the suggestion by State Rep. Chuck Mateer, the name was officially changed to “The Mount Rushmore State".
South Dakota has some of the best institutes of higher learning ranging from private liberal small art colleges such as the Augustana College, which is known to be the best in this region, to the bigger public system that consists of the famous South Dakota State University as well as the University of South Dakota.
Major Cities in South Dakota
This is the largest city in South Dakota, with a population of about 180,000. It is a city with diverse communities and is home to famous educational centers such as Augustana University, and the University of Sioux Falls. Founded in the mid-19th century, Sioux Falls was established as a city in 1883. It acquired its name from the native American tribe called Sioux. It is also known as the "Queen City". Agriculture, trade, finance, and healthcare are the main industries in this city.
With a population of about 76,000, this city is the second-largest in South Dakota. It was founded in 1876 and was established as a city in the year 1883. It belongs to Penning County. Mount Rushmore is the most popular site in this city. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is situated here. Other popular destinations here are Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, The Journey Museum and Learning Center, Storybook Island, South Dakota Air and Space Museum, Rushmore Waterslide Park, and more.
The city of Aberdeen was established in the year 1882. It is the third-largest city in this state with a population of about 29,000. It is home to major educational institutes like Presentation College, and Northern State University. It is also popularly known as the 'Hub City' and its major economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing. Popular attractions in this city are Dacotah Prairie Museum, Lee Park Golf Course, Storybook Land, Mina Lake Recreation Area, Wylie Park, Aberdeen Aquatic Center, and Melgaard Park.
Named after Wilmot Wood Brookings, this city was founded in 1879. It is the fourth major city in this state with a population of about 24,000. It is known for its flourishing agriculture and business sectors. The city is also known for its affordability and safety. Brookings is home to the best university in this state, namely, the South Dakota State University. Dakota Nature Park, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage, Children's Museum of South Dakota, McCrory Gardens, Oakwood Lakes State Park, Pipestone National Monument are popular attractions in this region.
- Insurance and Finance is one of the leading industries in South Dakota, which accounts for more than 17% of the state's gross product.
- Some other big industries here are construction, health care, trade, manufacturing, real estate, retail, forestry, and fishing.
- Agriculture and livestock has always been, and still is, a predominant sector that contributes to the state's economy. Corn, wheat, soybeans, and alfalfa are the major crops produced here.
- At present, Sanford Medical is the biggest public company in South Dakota. Other major employers are Avera Medical, Black Hill Corporation, Monument Health, Rapid City Regional Hospital, SiouxFalls.com, Lantis Enterprises, and Daktronics.
- Educational, healthcare, retail, and government sectors employ the maximum number of people. The average salary in the state of South Dakota is anywhere between $30,000 to up to $80,000 per year.
- After the covid-19 pandemic affected every state in the US, it was, and still is, a phase of recovery especially in terms of the economy. However, the state of South Dakota seems to be performing exceptionally well and even better than in the pre-pandemic times.
- With an overall unemployment rate of 5.2% in the US, the unemployment rate in the “Mount Rushmore State” is astonishingly lower at 2.8%.
- According to economist Derek Johnson, the state's sales and tax collection grew by a "historic" 14% this year.
Tuition Fee and Living Cost in South Dakota
The overall cost of living in South Dakota is a lot cheaper than the national average. The cost of healthcare services is slightly more expensive when compared to the national average, whereas transportation is the cheapest. According to the 2019 statistics by the US Census Bureau, the median household income in the state is roughly $59,000, and the per capita income is around $31,000. Britton, Freeman, De Smet, Winner, Lemmon, Parkston, are some of the most affordable cities in the state.
The general scenario, in terms of tuition fees, in major public colleges/universities throughout the country is that the out-of-state student fee is double the amount of the in-state student fee. What makes the institutes in South Dakota different is that there is no enormous difference in the in-state and out-of-state tuition fees. For instance, in South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota, the tuition fee for undergraduate in-state students is around $11,000 and around $14,000 for out-of-state students. Apart from educational costs being reasonable and affordable, there are also several scholarships and grants provided for the students.
List of Few Major Universities/Colleges
- South Dakota State University This is one of the oldest and the most prestigious educational institutes in South Dakota. This public university was founded in the year 1881 and is situated in the city of Brookings. With approximately 15,000 students and more than 600 teachers, the student-to-teacher ratio is 17:1. The institute is known for its great academic quality and offers around 80 majors and more than 90 minors. The tuition fee for an undergraduate in-state student is around $11,000 and about $14,000 for out-of-state students.
- University of South DakotaSituated in the city of Vermillion, the University of South Dakota is another one of the prime institutes in this state. It is popularly known for the beauty of its campus, welcoming atmosphere, and unique architecture of its buildings. This is also one of the oldest public institutes, founded in the year 1862. With about 13,000 students, the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1. It offers more than 200 academic programs. The tuition fee for undergraduate in-state students is around $11,000 and around $14,000 for out-of-state students.
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a STEM university situated in Rapid City. The university aims to teach its scholars to reach their full potential to have an impactful future. The university is known for its extensive research, rigorous undergraduate and graduate programs, and various work-study opportunities. With more than 3,000 students, the student-to-faculty ratio in this institute is 12:1. The tuition fee for undergraduate in-state students is around $12,000 and roughly $17,000 for out-of-state students.
- Augustana University This is a renowned private university situated in the largest city, Sioux Falls. It was founded in the year 1860 and is affiliated with the Lutheran Church. This institute aims to provide the best education to its students and also strives to inculcate strong values in them. It offers more than 100 majors. With more than 2,000 students in this institute, the student-to-teacher ratio is 12:1. The tuition fee for undergraduate students is about $36,000.
Scholarships/Financial Aid for Students
Scholarships and grants are provided to help those students who are academically sound but lack the resources to pursue an educational career. These programs are generally categorized based on several factors such as economic need, grades, race, course, profession, etc. Students should contact the financial aid office of respective institutes, or check out specific websites for knowing the details of the most relevant scholarships. The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is to be filled by all students before applying for any kind of financial aid.
- South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship: This program is for South Dakota high school graduates who are planning to attend an undergraduate program in an accredited institution. It is based on the exceptional academic caliber of the students. To be qualified, the candidate must obtain an ACT score of a minimum of 24 or a score of 3.0 GPA during high school. In case the student wishes to apply with SAT scores, it should be a minimum of 1090 or 1180. The award amount is $6,500.
- NIADA Foundation Regional Scholarships: This is a scholarship program sponsored by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Foundation (NIADA). It is to assist the students of the United States who display satisfactory academic merit. The award is distributed to states divided into four regions. Four students are chosen from each of these four regions. South Dakota belongs to region III. To be eligible, the candidate must produce academic transcripts, the highest ACT or SAT scores, an essay, and 2 to 5 letters of recommendation. The award amount for this scholarship is $3,500.
- Horatio Alger South Dakota Scholarship Program: This is a scholarship program offered by the Horatio Alger Association and funded by MidAmerican Energy Foundation. This is a need-based award for the students of South Dakota. The candidate must be a high school graduate planning to pursue an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (2-year or 4-year). To be eligible for this program, the candidate must secure a score higher than 2.0 GPA, display leadership qualities, demonstrate financial need, participate in community service, and actively get involved in extracurricular activities. The award amount is a total of $10,000.
- Augustana University Hatterscheidt Scholarship: This is a scholarship program offered by Augustana University to assist high school seniors who are planning to pursue an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Being a need-based and merit-based award, the candidate is required to display the required level of financial need and secure a minimum score of 3.0 GPA. The candidate should also be a US citizen as well as a resident of South Dakota. The award amount is $2,000 per year.
South Dakota is officially called the 'Mount Rushmore State' because it attracts millions of tourists to the famous national monument. Apart from this, the state has a lot more beautiful destinations to offer such as the Mitchell Corn Palace, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills National Forest, Wind Cave National Park, and Wind Cave National Park. Popular foods one should never miss out on in this state are the freshly baked Kuchen, Chislic, Walleye, Beef Sandwich, and Indian Tacos. If one wishes to enjoy the warmth and sunshine of the summers, it is best to visit the state in May or June. In case, fall is one's favorite season, it will be most favorable to enjoy the state in all its colorful beauty during September, and October.
Universities & Colleges in South Dakota
*UG - Undergraduate
*G - Graduate
*in - In-state Fees
*out - Out-of-State Fees
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