Friday, May 14, 2010

Sticking with a South Dakota University

I made a big choice to move 1,300 miles from where I spent most of my life. I was still working on my B.A.T.S Degree at South Dakota State University and the classes that I still needed were not available on-line. I had been doing traditional classroom education at the University Center in Sioux Falls and some Internet classes through my SDSU.

I looked at schools with on-line classes and completely on-line programs. There are so many schools and most make it so hard to see what your actual tuition rate is. All schools give the basic tuition rate and then they list as many as 30 different fees. Searching for on-line only programs was not as easy as you may expect. Most of the information are found on targeted sites, fully funded and supported by Internet School with degrees that employers do not take seriously. The interesting thing is that one of the most advertised on-line schools has a tuition rate of $530/credit hour + $85/class.

I searched local universities near my new home, which included some big names (UNC-Charlotte). I looked for programs, on-line degree choices, and cost. UNC–Charlotte Internet tuition cost for new residents and out-of-state residents $460.65/credit hour. Winthrop University, the closest Public University in South Carolina (where I am now a resident) was $400/credit hour for residents and $900/credit hour for new and out-of-state residents. Winthrop also did not have any advertised on-line only programs.

I search everywhere, looking for a school that had a Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems or Business Information Systems. The amazing thing was the best school for the least amount of money was still in South Dakota, and it only cost $253.95/credit hour with no other fees. With a rate like that, who would want to go to a campus for classes. Example: If I were as South Dakota Resident attending this school it would cost $205.50/credit hour (tuition + standard fees)+ 353.40/semester computer fee + parking fees + food + dorms.

The school I chose was Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison, SD. They have a Computer Information Systems program that is entirely online. DSU is not the only school that you could choose for $253.95 per credit hour. That tuition rate is set by the South Dakota Board of Regents school. This means the rate is good at any South Dakota Public University. You can get this rate for on-line classes at South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, Northern State University, Black Hill State Universityand South Dakota School of Minds and Technology.

Once you are enrolled at any of the State Public Universities, you can take on-line classes at any other of South Dakotas Public Universities. This is especially helpful when filling in those general education classes. DSU may have the Computer Classes, but Northern State will have the Accounting class that you also need. An important note: Most of your Senior Year (last 32 credits) classes must be taken at your home university.

Just because you can register for classes at other campuses, does not mean that is how the fully on-line degrees expect you to find classes work. All classes for a Degree at DSU will be offered by DSU at some point during a 4 year span.

Read my full article on Dakota State University and other South Dakota Public Universities here.