It matters where you live when taking an online course.

Are you currently enrolled in or do you plan to enroll in an online course at the University of South Dakota (USD)?
Will you live outside South Dakota while you are participating in online classes offered by the University of South Dakota (USD)?

If the answer to either question is "yes" you are entitled to certain consumer protections, and USD is required to comply with certain consumer protection laws, in the state in which you live while taking USD courses. Colleges and Universities who offer certain services to students who will be in a state outside South Dakota when taking a program or a course whether online or in person (internship, clinical rotation, practicum, field experience, etc.) must meet certain state regulations and protections from fraudulent activity.  This permission process is called "State Authorization."

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 (internships, clinical rotations, practicums, etc.), academic and athletic recruiting, marketing, etc.

South Dakota is a member state of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and USD is a SARA institutional member. 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 November 14, 2019). 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.

Authorization by State

Course and program availability varies by state. 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 the student lives at the time of admission. If a student moves to, or lives 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 the student lives. It is the student's responsibility to notify the institution of a change in location. 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.

Federal financial aid cannot be disbursed to a student if the student lives in, or changes his or her state of location to, a state where USD does not meet state authorization requirements.

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 800-233-7937 or by email at

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

The University of South Dakota as of November 14, 2019, 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 toll-free at 800.233.7937 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

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 February 7, 2017, 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.