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It matters where you live when taking any course outside the state of South Dakota. 

You are entitled to certain consumer protections, and USD is obligated to comply with certain state regulations, in the state in which you live while taking any USD course. This permission process is called "State Authorization" and includes any traditional, online, or hybrid program, or course involving field experiences or learning placements, outside South Dakota.

Course and program availability varies by state. Federal financial aid cannot be disbursed if you live in, or change your state of location to, a state where USD does not meet state authorization requirements. It matters where you live when taking an online course or an on-campus course with a field experience (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, proctoring, etc.) outside South Dakota. Admission into a program is granted at the time of initial acceptance into the program and is dependent on program availability in the state where you live at the time of admission. If you move to, or live in, a different state after admission to the program, continuation within the program will depend on the availability of the program within the new state where you live. Whether military personnel stationed outside the state of South Dakota may enroll or continue in a USD distance education program or not is based on where military personnel are stationed.

It is your responsibility to notify USD’s Division of Continuing & Distance Education of a change in location. In order to ensure that any educational programs and activities you are considering outside of South Dakota have authorization, and to be sure you are able to pursue these opportunities, please contact the Division of Continuing & Distance Education at 605-658-6152 or by email at

USD's Authorization by State

USD has and/or will apply for state authorization, when necessary, from those states where it conducts activities such as delivery of online courses, placement for field experiences, academic and athletic recruiting, marketing, etc.

South Dakota is a member state of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) and USD is an institutional member of SARA. As such, the University of South Dakota is authorized to deliver online education and perform certain educational activities in each of the member states of the reciprocity agreement (49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are members of SARA as of January 27, 2020). The agreement also requires specific permission to perform certain educational activities in another state, US Territory, on an Indian Reservation, on a military installation, or in some countries other than the United States.

View USD's Authorization by State

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

SARA has no effect on state professional licensing requirements. Educational programs leading to professional licensure may require additional approval from separate licensing boards, depending on the state.

The University of South Dakota as of January 27, 2020, cannot confirm whether any particular course or program meets educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, contact the academic department offering your major or CDE at 605-658-6152 or by email at USD is working to comply with these requirements and will provide up-to-date information as it becomes available.

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

International Students

International students are advised to understand and be apprised of the rules, regulations, and requirements related to online distance education programs in the country in which they live; particularly: (a) if the country will recognize an online degree; (b)whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country; and (c) if the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.

If you’re considering enrolling in an online program, please check to ensure the online degree you are seeking will serve its intended purpose.

Student Complaints

Complaints and Concerns

Distance Education Complaints and Concerns

Notification of Complaint Process for Program Integrity

Consumer Protection Laws

Contact Information For Students Residing In States Other Than South Dakota Who Have Complaints Relating Specifically To Distance Learning Or Correspondence Education

Refund Policy

Refund Policy and Requirements for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid

Complete Withdrawal Form (use this form if dropping all your courses, within the 100% refund period. Use this form even if you are registered for one class and are withdrawing from that class or all classes.)

Petition for Late Drop Withdrawal Form (use this form to request and document your rationale for a refund from USD, or for dropping courses after the 70% refund period)

Adverse Actions:

As of January 27, 2020, the University of South Dakota has no previous, current, nor pending adverse actions related to distance education that has been taken by an accreditation agency or state entity within the last five years.

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