USD Streamlines Degree Process to Lower Cost of College

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota is taking aim at tuition costs and the affordability of higher education by streamlining the degree process and encouraging graduation within four years.

New software will allow advisers to evaluate the likely success of a student’s degree path and help them determine what additional resources a student may need to complete the program or choose a program in which they increase the odds of success

“One of our goals is for students to obtain a meaningful credential that prepares them for life and career success at a reasonable cost within a reasonable time,” said USD Provost Jim Moran.

USD’s initiatives come on top of a recent policy change from the South Dakota Board of Regents, reducing the number of credits needed for graduation from 128 to 120. USD is moving to help students monitor their degree progress and make class scheduling more predictable.

“Our focus isn’t just on admitting students, it’s on graduating students,’ said Moran. “That’s why when we received feedback from faculty and students regarding the need for year-long scheduling, we moved quickly to provide the support to do so allowing our students to more accurately plan their degree program and ensure graduation within four years.”

Other changes have made it easier for students to transfer to USD from other schools. The number of transfer students is up 15 percent after USD improved the processing of transfer applications and credit equivalency tests.

According to data from the regents, education and related spending for a degree at USD is 25 percent lower than at peer institutions.


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.