Many Rapid City Students Choosing to Stay Home for College

Many students in Rapid City are attending college without moving to places like Brookings or Spearfish. They cite saved money, time, and added convenience as key factors.

By Bryttini Kasuske

With the Black Hills State University open in Rapid City, many local students are finding they can go to college without going anywhere. It’s not an option many high school students consider when sketching out their college plans, but students who attend locally are enjoying it. Why? I sat down with a couple of college students who attend the Black Hills State University Center (which they still call the University Center, its old name) to figure out why.

“It’s extremely less expensive than going to the campus itself,” Kaitlyn Kasuske said. She is a sophomore in college and has been attending the University Center  for two years now. She absolutely loves it and says she isn’t even debating going to an actual campus for the next two years of her college. She likes the University Center because it is a great way to get her degree without its costing her an arm and a leg. She doesn’t have to pay for the dorms, food plans, and the classes work great around her work schedule so she can be saving while she is going to college.


“When I got out of high school I wasn’t quite ready to leave home yet, but I wanted to start college because I knew I wouldn’t go back if I didn’t start right away.”


To go to Black Hills State University in Rapid City for a semester, taking 15 credit hours, costs about $5,500. In comparison, attending South Dakota State University in Brookings, for the same amount of credits, costs an estimated $8,087. That means Kaitlyn can take most of the same classes she would take at college but she can do it for about a third less of the cost.

Cost is not the only advantage students see. “When I got out of high school I wasn’t quite ready to leave home yet,” Veronica Dickson said, “but I wanted to start college because I knew I wouldn’t go back if I didn’t start right away.” Veronica is a freshman in college and just started at the University Center. She says she might decide later go to the actual campus, but for right now this is the perfect option for her. The University Center is proving to be a great option for people who aren’t ready to leave home or maybe even don’t know what they want to major in yet.

A student like Veronica can take all of her generals there and even some classes to go towards her major. There are 56 different degree programs, and credits earned there can transfer to almost any university a student wants to go to (in fact, Black Hills State University in Rapid City offers classes from USD, SDSM&T, SDSU, BHSU, DSU, and NSU). So, if students don’t know where they want to go, they can take their generals there and then transfer later.

Living in Rapid City has also been nice for many students. “When I was deciding on where I wanted to go to college most of them required you to live in the dorms for the first year,” said Sarah Williams. “I’m one of those people that don’t like living with others and I need my own space. The University Center allowed me to be able to live in my own place, go to school and still work to be able to pay rent and afford college.” She is a junior in college and loves how the University Center gives her the ability not to have to live in a small space with someone she barely knows.

As you can see, people are loving what the University Center has to offer. It’s a very affordable and flexible way to get your degree while you have other things going on in life. The University Center is a great option for people who may not know what they want to go to school for or for people who need to work to save their money to pay for college.


Photo by Brooklyn DeVries

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