South Dakota State University was the top-ranked public institution in GradReports’ 2021 Best Colleges in South Dakota by Salary Score. In addition, SDSU’s 52.31 Salary Score is higher than the median for all U.S. colleges.
“We rank schools based on Salary Score because the cost of college is a significant investment and we believe students deserve to know the financial outcomes of graduates. SDSU’s data was compared with median alumni salaries across the same programs at schools across the country,” said Sarah Glass, an outreach specialist for GradReports.
To be considered for the by-state bachelor's degree rankings, schools needed to offer at least eight CIP (The Classification of Instructional Programs) codes at the bachelor’s level with reported earnings median and earnings count data. Only colleges with less than 30% online undergraduate enrollment were considered for the by-state rankings.
To calculate a school’s overall Salary Score by level, GradReports calculated z-scores for the median earnings one year after completion for each individual bachelor's program with the same CIP code in the College Scorecard data set. In this way, a degree program at one school was evaluated against the same degree program across all schools. For more on its methodology, visit gradreports.com.
To conduct the calculations, GradReports obtained median earnings in the year after graduation and graduate count in each program from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard Field of Study data released in December 2020. Data is for students who graduated in 2016 and 2017, with earnings measured in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and inflation-adjusted to 2019 dollars. The earnings data used in the Salary Score is for alumni in the first year after completing a degree and the data is based on the earnings of students who received federal financial aid because that is the sample for which the Department of Education has data.
GradReports collected tuition information from the National Center for Education Statistics and represents tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year. Tuition is not part of the Salary Score calculation but is provided to help students compare costs across schools. In-state tuition was used in this report. It gathered program information, including available degrees and details about program coursework, was collected from official school websites, reflecting data for the 2020-2021 school year and collected between November 2020 and January 2021.