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State Authorization Regulations for Postsecondary Education - South Dakota


Approval to offer courses, whether online or in person, in South Dakota

Effective July 1, 2012, no postsecondary institution may provide educational programs at physical locations in South Dakota unless issued a certificate of authorization by the South Dakota Secretary of State. 

For more information regarding the certificate of authorization process, contact:


Secretary of State Monae Johnson​
State Capitol
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre SD 57501-5070
Phone: (605) 773-3537
Fax: (605) 773-6580
Office Hours: 8am to 5pm Central Time


Or visit the Secretary of State's webpage for

Postsecondary Education Authorization


The South Dakota Board of Regents plays no role in the general supervision of private institutions which are physically located in the state South Dakota. The Board of Regents does operate as the State Portal Entity for NC-SARA, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, and therefore does have oversight of distance education authorization for those institutions who participate in NC-SARA. Outside of SARA, distance education authorization authority lies with the South Dakota Secretary of State.


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.


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South Dakota Board of Regents
306 E. Capitol Avenue
Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
605 773 3455
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