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

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

Brian Maher

Executive Director and CEO, South Dakota Board of Regents

* Larry Tidemann

Representative, South Dakota Legislature

Diana VanderWoude

System Vice President, Leadership, Education and Development , Sanford Health

Legislative Advisory Committee

Casey Crabtree

Senator, South Dakota State Legislature

Reynold Nesiba

Senator, South Dakota Legislature

Tim Reed

Representative, South Dakota State Legislature

* Larry Tidemann

Representative, South Dakota Legislature


Provides strong return on investment



  • 559 South Dakota residents saved $3.48 million in 2019-20 through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). These WICHE programs provide significant student savings on nonresident tuition at 170+ Western U.S. public colleges and universities.
  • In 2019-20, WICHE Student Access Programs provided South Dakota an astounding 2,232 percent return on investment, relative to the state’s annual WICHE dues.
  • South Dakota students and their families have saved $90.4 million since the state first began participating in WUE.
  • The Master Property Program (MPP) helps institutions reduce their insurance premiums and improve their coverage. The MPP includes more than 170 campuses with total insured values of over $100 billion.

Helps South Dakota attract students from other states

WICHE maps highlighting South Dakota student migration
WICHE maps highlighting South Dakota student migration
  • WUE and WRGP incentivized 2,034 students this year to invest their tuition dollars in South Dakota.

Bolsters South Dakota’s health workforce

  • The Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), a partnership between the WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) and the University of North Dakota working to provide training, resources, and technical assistance to mental health providers and other practitioners in the region, launched a tribal school-based program in February 2020, to advance capacity and skill building to address the mental health needs of American Indian students through the development of Communities of Practice. The Every Moment Counts curriculum has been adapted for use among educators working in tribal communities. The schools that have agreed to participate include Harlem School District Number 12 serving Aaniiih and Nakoda Nations in Montana, Todd County Spring Creek serving the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, Turtle Mountain Elementary School serving the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota.

Increases South Dakota’s higher education access and affordability

  • Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University, and University of South Dakota are six of more than 30 college and university members of Interstate Passport® Network, which—by enabling block transfer of lower-division general education—reduces barriers to non-transfer of credits that students may encounter when transferring out-of-state.

Helps South Dakota allocate resources efficiently with data and policy analysis

  • WICHE offers various data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making. WICHE’s research projects and collaborations cover postsecondary completion, closing attainment gaps, adult learners, and multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development.
  • WICHE staff serve as expert resources and provide technical assistance on finance, financial aid, articulation and transfer, strategic planning, student demographics, and more.
  • Our website features Benchmarks, an interactive dashboard featuring the most recent data available on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and the financing of higher education, as well as other useful resources.
  • WICHE’s quadrennial Knocking at the College Door report is regarded as the foremost U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. An abundance of information can be found on the Knocking website, including publications, reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars, presentations, and South Dakota’s state profile.

Fosters idea sharing

  • WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee provides valuable insights on trends and promising practices to South Dakota’s legislative leaders as they build partnerships with leaders in other Western states.
  • Several South Dakota institutions are members of the Western Academic Leadership Forum (the Forum), a consortium of academic officers at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral institutions and chief executives and academic officers for systems and state governing boards (South Dakota members include Black Hills State University, Northern State University, South Dakota State University, South Dakota Board of Regents, Dakota State University, and University of South Dakota). Jay Perry, South Dakota Board of Regents, serves on the Forum executive committee. Likewise, academic leaders at community colleges and technical schools and at systems and state governing and coordinating boards associated with two-year institutions are members of the Western Alliance of Community College Academic Leaders (the Alliance)—South Dakota members are Mitchell Technical Institute, Western Dakota Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute, Lake Area Technical Institute, and South Dakota Board of Technical Education. Michael Cartney, Lake Area Technical Institute, serves on the Alliance executive committee. Both the Forum and the Alliance exchange ideas and information, share resources and expertise, and collaborate on regional initiatives.
  • 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, and University of South Dakota are all members of WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s growing membership includes almost 400 institutions, higher education agencies and systems, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in all U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Through its Frontiers blog, convenings, and active online discussions, WCET keeps members informed of the latest in policy change, regulations, and trends in educational technology. WCET also offers a host of resources related to educational technology and faculty support including advice and guidance for institutions on how to transition their face-to-face offerings to emergency online alternatives and how to increase quality in these courses over time.
  • The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary, state-led initiative designed to establish comparable standards for U.S. states and territories regulating postsecondary distance education. SARA expands access to postsecondary educational opportunities, while ensuring meaningful consumer protections for students and reducing regulatory red tape for institutions. WICHE is responsible for coordinating the membership of SARA states in the West through the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA). See nc-sara.org/directory for a list of member institutions.
  • The State Authorization Network (SAN) provides institutional support in managing state regulations related to online courses and programs. Black Hills State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State University, and University of South Dakota are all members.
  • At the outset of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, WICHE quickly reacted, shifted to remote work, and continues to advance our mission. WICHE is facilitating peer-to-peer videoconferences for higher education leaders to connect and identify solutions to common challenges, to follow legislation passed in response to the crisis, and to identify emergency funding for students and higher education institutions. The WICHE BHP is hosting webinars that offer guidance to support the mental well-being of their students, and WCET is providing updates and resources to help institutions address issues that arise due to the COVID-19 outbreak.