US News: USD Law Students Carry Less Debt

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Graduates of the University of South Dakota School of Law incur far less debt than most other law schools: $57,170 after three years in 2015 compared with an average of $112,748, U.S. News found.

The magazine added USD to its US News Short List of those schools among 183 that were ranked because students graduate with less than $70,000 in debt, on average. USD's law school ranked second-to-last in debt load. The list is separate from the publication’s overall rankings.

“This latest list once again recognizes the value that USD law provides its students,” said Tom Geu, dean of the USD School of Law. “We continue to provide a world-class legal education while paying careful attention to cost.”

USD is ranked fifth nationally in the percentage of its students who earn judicial clerkships at combined local, state and federal levels. As South Dakota’s only law school, USD grants degrees to most of its lawyers and judges. More than 85 percent of USD’s 2015 graduates are employed at law firms, in business, government or elsewhere. And it offers nine joint degrees that give law students the chance to earn a master’s degree with their J.D. in business administration, professional accountancy, educational administration, English, history, political science, public administration, psychology and administrative studies.


USD’s School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News