Jun 16, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog (ARCHIVED) 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Catalog (ARCHIVED) 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

State Authorization


The South Dakota Board of Regents (SDBOR), on behalf of the State of South Dakota, has entered into an agreement to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). South Dakota’s agreement is through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which is one of the four regional education compacts who administer SARA.

SDBOR has been designated by the state as the portal agency for SD-SARA and will administer SARA within South Dakota. SDBOR’s responsibilities as a portal agency include; accepting, reviewing, and submitting applications from South Dakota institutions wishing to participate in SARA, reviewing compliance, serving as liaison with SARA administrators from other states, and accepting and investigating student complaints.

NC-SARA establishes a state-level reciprocity process that supports the nation in its efforts to increase the educational attainment of its people by making state authorization more efficient, effective, and uniform. Membership in NC-SARA is voluntary for both states and institutions. Once a state becomes a member of NC-SARA, all degree-granting post-secondary institutions from all sectors (public colleges & universities; independent institutions, both non-profit and for-profit) accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education are eligible to participate in SARA. Institutions that participate in SARA are authorized in all states who are Members of NC-SARA. Membership is voluntary for both states and institutions.

SD-SARA Policy

SDBOR Policy 1:29 - South Dakota State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

For Dakota State University (DSU) to offer online course/programs or experiential learning activity to students outside of the state of South Dakota, DSU must seek approval from the state the student is physically located in and/or the state the activity is taking place in. State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is a national initiative that increases student access to distance education courses and programs while maintaining compliance with state regulations. SARA is the permission Dakota State University has to offer programs to student in U.S. states and territories. South Dakota participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), and DSU is an institutional member of NC-SARA.  As a participant in NC-SARA, DSU shares a distance learning opportunity with 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education does not regulate out-of-state public institutions. Bureau approval for Dakota State University to offer distance education programs to students located in California is not required so DSU is able to offer programs in California.

Dakota State University is committed to complying with other states’ authorization regulations.

Due to Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act, DSU students are unable to participate in unpaid experiential learning activities (internships, clinicals, field experiences) in the state of Colorado.

Dakota State University is not currently authorized to provide distance education courses or programs to students in American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Licensure or Certification:
Programs in licensed or certification fields may not be available in every state due to applicable state board regulations. Please check with the applicable state agency to make sure the program of interest is available in your state. Being a part of SARA has no effect on state licensure or certification requirements. For more information view LICENSURE CERTIFICATION DISCLOSURE.

Please visit DSU Online Programs by State and International for location where online programs may be completed. Please note that while a program is authorized in your state, it may not meet the licensure requirements of your state.

Resides outside of South Dakota:
If a student moves to or resides 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 resides. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the institution of a change in their state of residence. DSU does not provide all online programs in all states or countries. Please check to ensure the program you are interested in is offered in your state or country. While DSU does monitor laws in each state, authorization of distance education is a dynamic environment and you should check this site often for updates.

Please be advised that certain countries do not fully recognize credentials earned online from a foreign university.  If you are a foreign student seeking to enroll in one of our online degree programs, please check to ensure the online degree you are seeking will serve its intended purpose. If a country does not formally recognize foreign online degrees and certificates, this may have implications for students who later seek to enroll in other educational programs, seek employment with that country’s government or other employers requiring specific credentials. DSU stays informed of issues related to international authorization and licensure, and it is a student’s responsibility to understand other requirements such as, but not limited to how the collection of student data may be used in another country and whether withholding taxes (in addition to the price of tuition) will apply.

Ministry of Education - Government Websites

Federal financial aid cannot be disbursed to a student if the student resides in or changes his or her state location where DSU does not meet state authorization requirements. Federal financial aid cannot be disbursed in the case of a program that may lead to professional licensure or certification, where the DSU program does not meet educational prerequisites for licensure or certification requirements in the state where the student is located.  Contact the DSU Office of Online Education online@dsu.edu for more information.

Student Complaints & Concerns

Enrolled students can submit non-academic complaints. The complaints can be submitted electronically using the Concerns and Feedback form. Dakota State University seeks to resolve student concerns and complaint in a fair and prompt manner. Submissions will be processed and reviewed.

Notification of Complaint Process for Program Integrity

Complaints must first be processed through the institution’s own procedures for resolution of complaints. Individual complaints can be submitted electronically using DSU Concerns and Feedback form. The submission will be processed and reviewed.

Any person may file a complaint with the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents to obtain a review and appropriate action on allegations that an institution governed by the Board:

  • Violated South Dakota consumer protection laws;
  • Engaged in fraud or false advertising;
  • Violated South Dakota laws relating to the licensure of post-secondary institutions or programs;
  • Failed to provide an educational program meeting contemporary standards for content and rigor;
  • Failed to assign qualified instructors; or
  • Violated one or more accreditation requirements.

Where the institution has not already considered and acted upon the complaint, the Executive Director will refer the matter to the institutional president for review and action. If the complainant challenges an institutional disposition of the complaint. The Executive Director will provide for an independent review and disposition of the allegations.

The Office of the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents
306 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota, 57501-2545
Phone: 605-773-345
E-Mail: info@sdbor.edu.

SARA Complaint Procedures for Out-of-State Students

Complaints must first be processed through DSU’s procedures for resolution of complaints. The SD-SARA administrator will verify that all complaints have been received and processed by the institution and will not consider complaints that have not gone through the institutional complaint process. Complainants who processed their complaints through institutional complaint procedures but remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the institutional process may request that the SARA administrator review the institutional resolution of the complaint.

The complaint procedures for SD-SARA can be found in Section 7 of SDBOR SARA Policy 1:29.

Complaints to the SD-SARA administrator must specify:

  1. The basis for believing that the institutional action is inconsistent with the accreditation or SARA requirements.
  2. The harm caused to the complainant by virtue of the inconsistency, and the corrective action that the complainant seeks.
  3. If the complainant alleges that institutional documents were misleading, the request should contain the portions of the catalog, letters or email exchanged between the complainant and the institution and should identify with specific statements that the complainant found to be misleading and what the complainant understood the statements to mean.

SARA Complaint Procedures Flow Chart

SARA Complaint Resolution Form

Contact Information for Out-of-State Students

Students residing in other states while enrolled in a course offered by DSU will utilize the institution’s internal complaint or review policies and procedures prior to filing a complaint with the state agency or agencies. However, if the complaint is not resolved through these processes, a student may use the following list to identify the office(s) in the state in which the student resides to which the complaint against any public institution in South Dakota may be filed. the appropriate state agency for the individual resident state. State Agencies and forms are found below. The contact information for each state is subject to change.

Student Complaint Information by State and Agency (PDF)

California Contact for Complaint: 

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818

An alternative avenue for filing a Complaint is to utilize the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) online Complaint Form (Online Complaint Form). The DCA will forward the Online Complaint to the Bureau.

Accreditor Complaint Procedure

Institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools provides assurance to prospective students, parents, and others that an institution of higher education meets the agency’s clearly stated requirements and criteria. Dakota State University accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Institutional accreditation is the standard against which colleges and universities are evaluated for the quality of their education activities. The HLC is an independent organization founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The complaint process is designed to identify substantive problems with an institution’s ability to meet the Criteria for Accreditation. HLC’s policy on complaints provides a full description of the type of complaints that HLC will review.

Instructions for filing a complaint.

Location Matters

Prospective and Current Online & On-campus Student

Located Outside of South Dakota

Your location matters if you are taking an online course or an on-campus course with an experiential learning activity (such as, but not limited to, clinical, internships, externships, student teaching supervised field experience, co-curricular courses, fellowships, seminars, etc.) outside of South Dakota.  DSU does not provide the online programs or experiential learning activities in all states or countries.

Check these sites:

Report Location While Taking DSU Courses

Where will you be physically located while taking DSU courses? Every student shall report a correct current address or physical location at the time of initial enrollment in Dakota State courses.  In situations where your educational plan changes after registration, you shall inform DSU of any change in physical location. You can update your address online. Feel free to contact online@dsu.edu.

Update Address:

Change in Location During the Semester

Prospective and current students should keep in mind that licensing and authorization requirements vary by state. Your admission into a program is granted at the time of initial acceptance into the DSU program.  In situations where your educational plan changes after registration, you shall inform DSU of any change in physical location. You shall update your address online through Self-Service Banner (SSB). You can also contact online@dsu.edu.

Impact with Change in Physical Location:

  • Receipt of financial aid or benefits
  • Ability to complete the degree program or course
  • Ability to sit for professional licensure or certification
  • Possibility the program may not meet the eligibility requirements of the applicable state

Contacts for Change in Physical Location:

  • Enrolled Students should inform advisor of change in location and online@dsu.edu
  • Prospective Students should contact the Office of Online Education with questions (online@dsu.edu)

Student Responsibility

It is your responsibility to contact DSU personnel with direct oversight of your program if there is a change in physical location or contact Online@dsu.edu. By doing this, you shall ensure that the educational program and activity you are pursuing or considering pursuing outside of South Dakota has authorization.

Enrolling in Experiential Learning Activity Course Outside of South Dakota

Before registering for an experiential learning activity course in a state other than that of your physical location, you shall first need to check a few things before you start the activity as distance education regulations and authorization are subject to change.


Register Early for Experiential Learning Activity:

  • Determine with your advisor if the educational experience activity meets federal, state, reciprocity agreement, or international laws if applicable.
  • Determines whether or not the educational program meets the licensure or certification requirements of the applicable state.
  • Ensures you can sit for licensure or certification upon completion of the academic program and or participate in an experiential learning activity outside of South Dakota.
  • If applicable, ensures receipt of financial aid.

Enrolling in a Program That Leads to Licensure or Certification

Prior to enrolling in a program that leads to licensure or certification, such as, but not limited to, clinical, internships, externships, student teaching, supervised field experience, co-curricular courses, fellowships, seminars, etc. there are a few things to do.


  • Your advisor
  • Contact DSU personnel with direct oversight of the academic program
  • College of Business and Information Systems Professional Accountancy: 605-256-5165 or Email
  • College of Education Education Programs: 605-256-5177 or Email
  • Office of Online Education 605-256-5239 or Email

Impact for Checking Prior to Enrolling:

  • Determines whether or not the educational program meets the licensure or certification requirements of the applicable state.
  • Ensures you can sit for licensure or certification upon completion of the academic program and or participate in an experiential learning activity outside of South Dakota.
  • If applicable, ensures receipt of financial aid.

Distance Education: Student Out-of-State Location Policy

Consumer Protection

Allegations involving violation of consumer protection laws may also be filed with the Office of Attorney General.

SD Attorney General’s Office Address:

Office of the Attorney General
1302 E Hwy 14
Suite 1
Pierre SD 57501-8501

Phone (Routine Business):
(605) 773-3215
TTY: (605) 773-6585 (For the Hearing Impaired)
Fax: (605) 773-4106


Division of Consumer Protection
1302 E Hwy 14
Suite 3
Pierre SD 57501-8501
Division of Consumer Protection Phone: (605) 773-4400
Consumer Help Line: 1-800-300-1986 (South Dakota only)
Fax: 773-7163
Email: consumerhelp@state.sd.us


Adverse Actions Initiated by a State Agency or by an Accrediting Agency

Dakota State University education programs have no previous, current, or pending adverse actions initiated by any state entity or accreditation agency as of June 22nd, 2020.

Refund Policies
Dakota State University follows the refund policy published by the South Dakota Board of Regents.
South Dakota Board of Regents Policy 5:7

Additional Information:

Financial Aid

Tuition and Fees

Refund Policy

Add/Drop/Withdrawal (Class Change) - Changes may be made in Self Service Banner

University Withdrawal - When a student withdraws from all their courses in any academic term, they also withdraw from the University. If a student is enrolled at more than one Board of Regents institution, the student must withdraw from all courses at all institutions. In order to initiate a student’s withdrawal from the University and to notify all appropriate University offices of that withdrawal, students contact one of the following offices.

DSU main campus: Contact the Vice President of Student Affairs Office at (605) 256-5124 or toll-free 1-888-378-9988 or email marie.johnson@dsu.edu

Community College for Sioux Falls/UC students seeking a DSU major: Contact the University Center you are attending (Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City)

Distance students seeking a DSU major: Contact DSU On-line Education at (605) 256-5049 or email online@dsu.edu

Graduate students (online & on-campus): Contact DSU Registrar’s Office at (605) 256-5263, toll-free 1-888-378-9988 or email DSU-Registrar@dsu.edu

The effective date of withdrawal is the date the student initiates the withdrawal process officially, either verbally or in writing, with the appropriate office. Failure to officially withdraw may result in failing grades, forfeiture of any possible refund of charges, and will impact Federal financial aid eligibility. Additionally, a student is withdrawn from the University if classes have begun and the University has administratively suspended a student for reasons such as non-payment of tuition and fees, disciplinary sanctions, etc.

Students Who Receive Federal Title IV Financial Aid (R2T4 Policy) 

General Information: The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to apply the Return to Title IV Funds policy for students withdrawing from a University who receive Title IV financial aid. Title IV funds include the following financial aid programs: Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and other Title IV assistance. The requirements for Title IV program funds when withdrawing are separate from the DSU refund policy. Therefore, the student may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. DSU may also charge the student for any Title IV program funds that were required to be returned that were initially used to cover institutional charges.A student who withdraws after the 60% point of a semester is entitled to retain all Title IV aid for that semester. However, if the student withdraws prior to the 60% point of the term, unearned Title IV funds as determined by the federal policy must be returned to the various programs. These funds must be returned even if the University provides no refund to the student. This means the student could owe the University and/or the U.S. Department of Education a significant amount of money.

Post Withdrawal Disbursement: If the student did not receive all of the funds that were earned prior to withdrawing, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be due. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the student must give permission before the funds can be disbursed. DSU may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges. Permission is required to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. Students will be notified of post-withdrawal disbursement eligibility within 30 days of the date of withdrawal determination.

Determining Earned Aid: Title IV financial aid is earned by the calendar day, not class day. This includes weekends, holidays, and breaks of less than five consecutive days. The University is required to determine the amount of Title IV aid the withdrawing student has earned and then either disburse any additional funds the student may be entitled to up to the amount earned, or return funds in excess of the amount earned which the student has already received. If an amount to be returned to a federal program is determined, then a further calculation is made to determine how much of the amount needs to be returned by the University and how much, if any, needs to be returned by the student.

For example: If $1,000 in federal aid is disbursed, and the student withdraws at the 30% point of the term, $700 of the aid is unearned and needs to be returned to the identified aid program.

Order of Aid to be Returned: The amount to be returned is distributed in a specified order - Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Subsidized Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, Pell Grant, SEOG, TEACH Grant, Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant, other Title IV assistance, and last to the student.

Grant Overpayment: Any amount of unearned grant funds that the student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment the student must repay is half of the grant funds that were received or scheduled to receive. The student does not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. Arrangements must be made with DSU or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds. The student will be notified of any grant overpayment within 30 days of the date the school determined the student withdrew.

Timeframe for Returning Title IV Aid: The Return of Title IV Funds calculation will occur as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date the University determined the student withdrew.

Notification to Student: Once the Return to Title IV Funds calculation has occurred, the DSU Business Office will notify the student of the results of the calculation, the aid that was returned, and any outstanding balance now due to the institution as a result. The University strongly encourages students and parents to consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine the financial impact of withdrawing before making a final decision.

Unofficial withdrawals (all failing unearned grades): Title IV aid recipients who fail to withdraw but stop attending class are considered unofficial withdrawals. Either the last day of academically related activity or mid-point of the term will be used to determine the amount of Title IV assistance that must be returned. If the student stopped attending prior to the 60% point of the term, the student will be billed for the outstanding charges as a result of the Return of Title IV funds. The last date of attendance for unofficial withdrawals is calculated within 30 days of determining the student was an unofficial withdrawal and the Return of Title IV funds is processed within 45 days.

Licensure and Certification Disclosure

If you are a student or prospective student interested in an educational program that may lead to professional licensure or certificate, you should be aware of certain policies or information important for your success.

Dakota State University programs that lead to a professional licensure or certification are intended to prepare a student for potential licensure or certification in South Dakota. While the DSU programs meet the relevant academic requirements for the licensure or certification board/agency in South Dakota, they may or may not meet the educational requirements for a licensure or certification in another state. If you are planning to seek professional licensure or certification outside South Dakota, it is important for you to know the specific requirements of the state in which you intend to apply for licensure or certification. It is strongly recommended that you contact the applicable licensing entity in that state to seek information and guidance regarding licensure or certification requirements specific to that state.

Licensed Professions by State

If you are considering a program that leads to professional licensure or certification, it is important that you contact the DSU personnel with direct oversight of the academic program you are interested in for licensure and certification requirements.

College of Business and Information Systems

Professional Accountancy: 605-256-5165 or Email

College of Education

Education programs: 605-256-5177 or Email 

Dakota State University is working to expand the number of states in which each program is authorized for licensure or certification requirements. Even if the course or program you are interested in is not currently available in your state, it may be in the future.  Please view the College of Education Program link  and College Of Business & Information Program to see whether the program of interest will meet licensure or certification requirements in the state you will be located while enrolled in DSU courses.

Again, it is strongly recommended that you contact the applicable licensing entity to seek information and guidance regarding licensure or certification requirements before beginning and academic program. Contact the Office of Online Education if you have further questions online@dsu.edu or 605-256-5239