Since 1988, South Dakota has partnered with and benefited WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.


Download the factsheet for South Dakota here.




by South Dakota students through WICHE Student Access Programs


through WUE


through WRGP

WICHE’s Student Access Programs

WICHE operates three Student Access Programs that together saved students $613 million in 2023-24. Each program supports students at each level of postsecondary education: undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare studies.

  • Students gain from increased choice and savings.
  • Schools gain by optimizing enrollments.
  • States and Pacific Island members gain by growing the skills of those they serve and strengthening their workforce.

WRGP has helped me to grow both academically and personally. I am learning from amazing professors and gaining relevant research experience at a top Master of Public Health in Nutrition program. Additionally, WRGP has provided me with new experiences in living in a different part of the country. I am so thankful for WRGP.

SABRINA, South Dakota resident, Master of Public Health, Northern Arizona University

Improving Lives in South Dakota

WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Learn more about our mission.

WICHE brings together senior academic leaders to foster dialogue about issues facing individual institutions through its leadership and professional development networks.


  •     Mitchell Technical College
  • Western Dakota Technical College
  •   Southeast Technical College
  •   Lake Area Technical College
  •   South Dakota Board of Technical Education

Barb Kleinjan, Lake Area Technical College, serves on the Alliance executive committee.


  •   Black Hills State University
  •   Northern State University
  • South Dakota Board of Regents
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  •   South Dakota State University
  •   University of South Dakota

Pam Carriveau, South Dakota Board of Regents, serves on the Forum executive committee.

WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY is a year-long professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region. Sixteen cohort members from South Dakota institutions have participated in the Academy since its inception in 2015.

Thanks to collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), one of four U.S. regional higher education compacts, WICHE-region educational institutions, nonprofits, and public education entities can benefit from three programs: MHECtech, which provides competitively bid purchasing contracts for an array of hardware, software, and technology services; MHECare, which provides a student health insurance plan and teletherapy services; and a MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, which offers risk transfer and advisory solutions. Learn more.

South Dakota participates in the STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT (SARA) through WICHE. This voluntary agreement provides reciprocity for the state authorization of distance education.

WICHE ACADEMY FOR LEADERS IN THE HUMANITIES is a leadership development program for aspiring academic leaders with a background in the humanities. The two-year fellowship consists of campus-based and external mentoring, a three-day in-person seminar, and an extended project. Stacey Berry, Dakota State University, is participating in the 2023-25 cohort.

WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) provides consultation and technical assistance to the South Dakota Division of Behavioral Health for its Individualized Mobile Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (IMPACT), as well as the South Dakota Human Services Center to support its focused programming and staffing models.

WICHE BHP is working with the State Hospital and the Lewis and Clark Community Health Mental Health Center in Yankton to develop a Psychology Internship Consortium, initiated in September 2022, and anticipates an initial cohort of three to four interns.

WICHE BHP, in partnership with the University of North Dakota College of Education and Human Development, and with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), co-administers the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MP-MHTTC). The MP-MHTTC provides comprehensive training, resources, and technical assistance to mental health providers and other practitioners in the SAMHSA Region 8.

In October 2022, WICHE BHP was awarded a multiyear grant from SAMHSA to establish the Mountain Plains Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Center of Excellence (MP ROTAC). The MP ROTAC develops and disseminates resources, training, and technical assistance that focuses on opioid and stimulant misuse in rural areas throughout SAMHSA’s Region 8.

BHP also administers the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), a multiyear initiative supported by the Health Resources & Services Administration to identify treatment barriers and best practices for preventing and treating substance use disorder, including opioid use and psychostimulant use disorders. The RCORP program supports one grantee – South Dakota State University (two sites).

Knocking at the College Door is the leading U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. Knocking, which includes a quadrennial publication with additional analysis, is essential for postsecondary policymakers, planning and workforce efforts, and economic development.

WICHE offers curated data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making:

CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICERS NETWORK Staff from the South Dakota Board of Regents also participate in regular collaborative calls with colleagues around the region.

WCET- The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies is the leader in practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education.   Black Hills State University,  Dakota State University,  Northern State University,  South Dakota Board of Regents,  South Dakota School of Mines & Technology,  South Dakota State University,  Southeast Technical Colleges, University of South Dakota, and  Western Dakota Technical College are WCET members.

Additionally,   Black Hills State University,  Dakota State University, Lake Area Technical College, Mitchell Technical College, Northern State University, South Dakota Board of Regents, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology,  South Dakota State University, Southeast Technical College, University of South Dakota, and Western Dakota Technical College are members of the State Authorization Network (SAN), which helps guide institutions through state regulations around online courses and programs.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

Nathan Lukkes

Executive Director, South Dakota Board of Regents

* Larry Tidemann

Retired, South Dakota Legislature

Diana VanderWoude

System Vice President, Sanford Health

Legislative Advisory Committee

Casey Crabtree

Senator, South Dakota State Legislature

Roger DeGroot

Representative, South Dakota State Legislature

Reynold Nesiba

Senator, South Dakota Legislature

Tim Reed

Senator, South Dakota State Legislature