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NSU's Approval Status for the state of South Dakota

Online Programs: All eNSU degree programs are authorized.

Northwestern State University is authorized to enroll students from this state because the university participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

NC-SARA:  National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

(Pre-SARA Participation) Supporting Documentation:

South Dakota does not currently license or exempt online programs from accredited universities.

The South Dakota Board of Regents plays no role in supervising private institutions or out-of-state institutions that deliver postsecondary degree programs or credit-bearing courses in South Dakota. The sole legal authority of the South Dakota Board of Regents relates to control of postsecondary institutions funded by the state and to the administration of a small merit-based scholarship program established by the state. See, SDCL §§ 13-49-1 and 13-55-30

For those institutions offering courses, whether online or in person, in South Dakota, the state of South Dakota has, since 2001, relied upon a simple prohibition backed by criminal enforcement. No institution may provide postsecondary credits or degrees "in South Dakota, or while organized under the laws of South Dakota," unless it is:

  • Accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,
  • Approved to offer its students federal financial aid, or
  • Actively pursuing accreditation from a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency and offering work pursuant to an affiliation agreement with a duly accredited institution which takes responsibility for issuing credits or degrees, maintaining transcripts and, where appropriate, administering federal financial aid programs. SDCL § 13-49-27.1

As is the case with other prohibitions backed by criminal sanctions, enforcement authority resides with state's attorneys and the Attorney General.

-- South Dakota Board of Regents