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Fact Book

About SMSU

Southwest Minnesota State University is a four-year public university offering a highquality education in the liberal arts and professions to prepare students for a life that is successful both personally and professionally.

Founded in 1963 and opened in 1967, SMSU has grown into a university of choice with high national rankings, producing scholars who become the leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Our Mission

Southwest Minnesota State University prepares students to meet the complex challenges of this century as engaged citizens in their local and global communities. Our comprehensive degree programs, taught in the liberal arts tradition, are dedicated to connecting students’ academic and practical professional development experiences in southwestern Minnesota to the wider world.

Our Vision

SMSU aspires to be recognized throughout Minnesota and beyond for being an inclusive and student-centered university.

Our Values

We Value:

  • Discovery through innovative teaching, research and other high-impact experiences.
  • Civic engagement and strategic partnerships.
  • Developing broadly educated and wellrounded leaders.

Our Leadership

Kumara Jayasuriya was appointed by the Minnesota State system and began his duties July 1, 2019. President Jayasuriya is the tenth permanent president of SMSU.

University Governance

Southwest Minnesota State University is a member of the Minnesota State system, governed by a 15-member board of trustees. Trustees are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Minnesota State Senate.

For more information about the Minnesota State system visit their website at

Equity 2030

Minnesota’s moral and economic imperative necessitates that educational equity gaps be eliminated. Minnesota State’s guiding principle of Equity 2030 aims to eliminate educational equity gaps at all Minnesota State colleges and universities by 2030. Equity 2030 is an approach to intentionally rethink the way Minnesota State and our colleges and universities operate on a day-to-day level. As institutions of higher education, our core mission is represented by teaching and learning.

Strategic Dimensions

  • Enhanced Access: Enhancing access to higher education by strengthening partnerships and collaboration with K-12, business & industry, community-based organizations, and philanthropic partners to expand and grow current programming and identify new ways to support students.
  • Student Academic Success: Establishing guided learning pathways that focus on academic preparation, progression, and accomplishment within an area of study and career.
  • Student Success: Engagement and Support: Student experience within the institution, both academic and non-academic, including supporting basic needs.
  • Data-Guided Decision Making: Building technology infrastructure and capacity for deeper data analytics, and expanding campus capacity to interpret data and use it to guide decision-making.
  • Financial Resources and Support: Expanding financial resources and support for students and growing the financial resource base for campuses.
  • Workforce Diversity and Talent Development: Incorporating the local and national context with the changing student and employee demographics and needs, focusing on cultural competence development, inclusive hiring practices, and improved campus climate.

Our Accreditations

SMSU is accredited by:

  • the National Association of Schools of Music,
  • the Minnesota Board of Teaching,
  • the Council on Social Work Education,
  • the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP),
  • the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and
  • The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602; (800) 621-7440. For more information about the Higher Learning Commission visit their website:

Our Academic Organization

Academic Units

  • College of Arts, Letters, & Sciences
  • College of Business, Education & Professional Studies


  • School of Agriculture
  • School of Business & Public Affairs
  • School of Education
  • School of Graduate Studies


  • Agriculture, Culinology and Hospitality
  • Business Innovation & Strategy
  • Education
  • English, Philosophy, Spanish and Humanities
  • Fine Arts and Communication
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Nursing
  • Science
  • Social Science

Majors and Minors

A list of majors and minors can be found in SMSU's academic catalog.

Our Students

Our Alumni

Our Mustang Athletics

NCAA Division II

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
National Intercollegiate Wheelchair
Basketball Association

Athletic Highlights for 2020-21 Year

SMSU Athletics had another exceptional year both on the field of play and in the classroom.•SMSU student-athletes compiled a 3.02 GPA.

  • A record 15 student-athletes earned NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award.
  • A total of 98 student-athletes named Academic All-NSIC (GPA of 3.20+).
  • Women’s basketball team finished with the sixthhighest GPA in Division II in 2020-21.
  • Esports competed in first intercollegiate season.
  • Swimmer Gabriela Reis earned NSIC Elite 18 award for the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing in the NSIC Championship. She is the second SMSU studentathlete to earn the award.
  • Five SMSU student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
  • Two SMSU student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-American accolades.
  • Six student-athletes named first team All-NSIC.
  • Caden Steffen, Jackson Ryan (wrestling) and Rebecca Manteuffel (track & field) named NCAA All-Americans.
  • Softball finished the season with 27 victories, the highest since the 2015 season.
  • Tennis’ 3rd place regular season finish in the conference was the program’s highest since 2008.
  • Former SMSU football student-athlete Jeff Loots named to College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

Our Faculty and Staff

Our Tuition and Affordability

SMSU does NOT charge out of state tuition


Our Accolades

Teaching Degree Rankings

  • No. 1 nationally for Best Value School for Education Students
  • No. 1 nationally for Teaching English or French Students
  • No. 1 in the Plains States for General Education Students
  • No. 1 in the Plains States for Teaching English or French Students
  • No. 1 in Minnesota for General Education Students

Plexuss Global Rankings

  • No. 1 in Minnesota for Early Childhood Education Programs
  • No. 4 in Minnesota for Agriculture Programs

Colleges of Distinction

  • SMSU’s commitment to engaged, hands-on education has resulted in being named a College of Distinction, a trusted resource that helps students find the right college. Colleges of Distinction selected SMSU because of its student-centered education, dynamic learning environment and inclusiveness. Rankings

  • No. 4 for Best Affordable Schools in Minnesota for Bachelor’s Degrees
  • No. 7 nationally for Most Affordable Colleges for Hospitality Degree Programs
  • No. 8 nationally for Most Affordable Online Schools for Out-of-State Students, Master’s Degree
  • No. 10 nationally for Best Affordable ESL Teaching Degree Programs
  • No. 12 nationally for Most Affordable Online Schools for Out-of-State Students, Bachelor’s Degree
  • No. 12 nationally for Best Affordable Sociology Degree Programs
  • No. 13 nationally for Best Affordable Psychology Degree Programs
  • No. 14 nationally for Best Affordable Marketing Degree Programs
  • No. 14 nationally for Best Affordable Mathematics and Statistics Degree Programs
  • No. 19 nationally for Best Affordable Agricultural Business Management Degree Programs Ranking

  • No. 1 in Minnesota for Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs Ranking

  • No. 1 Safest Campus in Minnesota

Military Friendly School Ranking

  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification

Military Spouse Friendly School Ranking

  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification

  • No. 5 in Minnesota for Online RN to BSN Programs Ranking

  • No. 30 nationally in Best Master’s in Coaching Degrees Ranking

  • No. 26 nationally for Best Early Childhood Education Programs

THE MUSTANG PROMISE: Within six months of graduation, you’ll be employed or enrolled in grad school. If not, come back to enroll in one of SMSU’s graduate programs with your first semester of tuition on us. THAT’S OUR PROMISE.

In this unique program, students work with a faculty advisor and the SMSU Career Services staff to take steps that have been proven to lead to success in the job search. If students do their part and still don’t land a job related to their major within six months of graduation, we’ll give them FREE TUITION for their first semester in one of our master’s degree programs. For details on the Mustang Promise, visit:

Our Assets and Financial Data

The Campus

Financial Data*

Our SMSU Foundation

SMSU Foundation | 800-260-0970

The SMSU Foundation is served by a 31-member board consisting of alumni and friends of the institution who strive to advance the mission of the Foundation in support of SMSU. The SMSU Alumni Association, Minnesota Agriculture & Rural Leadership (MARL) and Mustangs Booster Club organizations all fall under the leadership of the SMSU Foundation and are served by their own respective boards. These three organizations each have distinct missions that serve a broad range of constituents.


Our Role in the Economy

SMSU’s impact on the regional economy is calculated to be $173.1 million, according to a study commissioned by the Minnesota State system. This includes a direct impact of $86.3 million, and an indirect/induced impact of $86.8 million.

The University supports and sustains 1,421 jobs annually, according to the study. SMSU directly employs 417 people.

An estimated $2.4 million in charitable donations and volunteer activities are generated annually by SMSU faculty, staff and students.

SMSU faculty, staff and students donate an average of $469,715 annually to local charitable organizations.

Faculty, staff and students donate over $1.9 million in volunteer time annually.

Our Strategic Plan

SMSU is proud of its tradition of excellence, which is guided by the University’s ongoing strategic planning process. Since its founding, enabled and inspired by the people of Southwest Minnesota and the surrounding region who dared to dream of a university on the prairie, Southwest Minnesota State University has been a center for learning.

Each successive generation of students, faculty, and staff, with the support of the community, has contributed to the ongoing success of the institution. To learn more about our strategic planning process, visit:

Our Community

SMSU is located in Marshall, Minnesota, a friendly, growing community of 14,000. Marshall, named one of America’s Best Small Cities, is an easy drive from the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Sioux Falls, SD and Fargo, ND. Marshall is also the proud home of Schwan’s Company, Action TrackChair, Runnings, and Ralco, along with major employers USBank, Archer Daniels Midland, and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. Marshall is home to the Red Baron Arena & Expo.

For more information about Marshall visit:

Our Mustang Family

Please consider referring future Mustangs to the Office of Admission online at:

If the student you refer enrolls, you will be entered in a drawing for one of two $25 Barnes & Noble gift cards. Referral winners will be notified at the beginning of each new semester and recognized on SMSU Today.

Contact the Office of Admission:

Published by:
SMSU Communications & Marketing Office and
Data Management & Institutional Research
1501 State Street · Marshall MN 56258

Last Modified: 11/9/21 9:54 AM | Website Feedback