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About SMSU

Southwest Minnesota State University is a four-year public university offering a high-quality 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 for our affordability and academic excellence. SMSU is dedicated to preparing 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 well-rounded 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 Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB),
  • the Council on Social Work Education,
  • the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP),
  • the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE),
  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 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
  • Candidacy for initial accreditation: As of March 21, 2023, Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator program is a candidate for initial accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Our Academic Organization

Academic Units

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


  • North Star Mutual School of Business
  • School of Agriculture
  • School of Education
  • School of Graduate Studies


  • Agriculture, Culinology and Hospitality Management
  • 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

Enrollment Figures from Fall 2022

  • Total Headcount: 6,529
  • Degree-seeking (undergrad): 1,947
  • Non-degree seeking: 4,197
  • Graduate: 385
  • Full-time Equivalent (undergrad): 3,035
  • FTE Graduate & Undergrad: 3,296
  • Female: 65.0%
  • Male: 33.6%
  • Other: <1%
  • Unknown: 1.3%
  • Students of Color: 22.3%
  • Minnesota Residents: 75.4%
  • Counties Represented: 69
  • Out of State: 24.6%
  • States Represented: 32
  • International: 5.5%
  • Countries Represented (Demographics based on Degree-Seeking Undergraduate Students): 25
  • Students Living on Campus: 538
  • First Year/Freshmen Living on Campus: 78%
  • Student Housing Occupancy: 51%
  • Average Class Size: 15.4
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
  • Course sections <30 students: 94.1%
  • Course sections <50 students: 98.4%
  • First Year Retention: 67%
  • Eligible Students Named to Deans' List: 27%

College of Arts, Letters & Sciences Degrees Granted

  • Associate of Arts: 20
  • Bachelor of Science or Arts: 175
  • Undergraduate Certificate: 1
  • Graduate Certificate: 1

College of Business, Education & Professional Studies Degrees Granted

  • Bachelor of Science or Arts: 277
  • Master of Science or Arts: 120
  • Master of Science or Arts: 41
  • Graduate Certificate: 10
  • Undergraduate Certificate: 9

Our Alumni & Placement


  • Total Alumni: 24,617
  • Residing in Minnesota: 16,583
  • Employed at SMSU: 126

Student Employment and Placement

  • 99.2% of recent SMSU graduates are employed
  • 96.1% of SMSU graduates secured employment in their field of study
  • 7.2% of SMSU graduates are continuing their education
  • 85% are employed in Minnesota
  • * As reported by 2021 graduates within one year of graduation.

Our Mustang Athletics

NCAA Division II

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

Men's Sports
  • Baseball
  • Cross Country
  • Track & Field
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Wrestling
Women's Sports
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Cross Country
  • Softball
  • Track & Field
  • Golf
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Volleyball
Co-ed Sports
  • Esports
  • Wheelchair Basketball

Athletic Highlights for 2022-23 Year

  • More than 230 student-athletes named to Dean’s List
  • A total of 138 student-athletes named Academic All-NSIC
  • A total of 19 student-athletes received All-NSIC accolades.
  • Five student-athletes named All-Region or Region Champion.
  • Two student-athletes named All-American.
  • Jennifer Flowers became the first female Director of Athletics in University history to oversee both the women’s and men’s programs.
  • Onte Burns (football) led the NSIC in tackles for the third straight season and was named to the CCA All-Region second team. He also broke the NSIC career record for solo tackleswith 213.
  • Jesse Sherwood (football) became the eighth player in program history to run for at least 2,000 yards in his career. His 1,213 rushing yards and 134.8 yards per game both ranksecond in SMSU single-season history, and helped him earn CCA All-Region second team honors.
  • SMSU volleyball ranked as high as No. 5-nationally before finishing the season ranked No. 12 in the AVCA Top 25. SMSU’s 23-6 overall record included a pair of top-five victories, highlighted by a five-set thriller over No. 1 Wayne State on Oct. 22.
  • Head coach Tyler Boddy (volleyball) opened his first season with 11 straight victories, the longest streak to begin a coaching career in SMSU history.
  • Women’s basketball hosted a NSIC Tournament game for the second straight season and reached the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2003. The team set a program record for 3-pointers made in a season.
  • Jenna Borchers (women’s basketball) set program record for career 3-point field goals.
  • Sam Wall (women’s basketball) set a program single-season record for 3-pointers made in a season.
  • Wheelchair basketball placed fifth at the 2023 NIWBT championship.
  • Isaac Nett (baseball) named first team CSC Academic All-American.
  • Juliana Villa earned CSC Academic All-American accolades. She also earned the NSIC Elite 18 Award for women’s swimming & diving.
  • SMSU tennis (2023) qualified for the NSIC Tournament for the fourth straight season.
  • Jeremy Ische was named the new head baseball coach.

Our Faculty and Staff

Faculty full time versus part time

  • Faculty Full-time: 264
  • Faculty Part-time: 182
Employee Breakdown
Faculty Rank Total Male Female
Professor 46 26 20
Associate Professor 27 15 12
Assistant Professor 29 8 21
Instructor/Adjunct 127 52 75

Percent of full time faculty with highest degree in their field

  • FT Faculty w/ Highest Degree in field: 96%
  • Staff Full-time: 157
  • Staff Part-time: 50
SMSU Employee Breakdown
Type Total Male Female
Administration 13 9 4
Professional 139 60 79
Support Staff 65 27 38

Our Tuition and Affordability

Tuition (2023-24)

  • Undergrad Tuition & Fees (full-time): $10,304
  • Undergrad Housing & Food (double room): $10,666
  • Undergrad tuition (per credit): $305
  • Graduate tuition (per credit): $503

SMSU does NOT charge out of state tuition

Financial Aid (2023-24 Academic Year)

SMSU Financial Aid Data
  • Avg Financial Aid Package: $10,602
  • % of students receiving aid: 92%
  • # Scholarships/Grants Awarded: 4,193
  • Federal Grants Awarded: $3,387,501
  • State Grants Awarded: $2,286,769
  • SMSU Scholarships/Grants Awarded: $3,604,366

Student Employment On-Campus

  • Students with Work-Study Jobs: 7.3%
  • Students with Regular Payroll Jobs: 15.4%

Our Accolades


  • Top 15 in the Nation for Affordable Out-of-State Tuition


  • 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


  • Top 7 in the U.S. for affordable tuition for international students


  • SMSU’s commitment to engaged, hands-on education has resulted in being named a 2023-2024 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.


  • #10 Best Bachelor’s degrees in Law Enforcement (Justice Admin/Criminal Justice)
  • #10 Best Bachelor’s degree in Special Education
  • #14 Best Online Bachelor’s degree program in Early Childhood Education
  • #30 Best Online Bachelor’s in History
  • #34 Best Online Bachelor’s in Accounting


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


  • 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 Program


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


  • No. 1 Safest Campus in Minnesota


  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification
  • 2022-23 Gold Division


  • No. 3 nationally in the Small Public University classification


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


  • 52 NSIC regular season championships
  • 1 NCAA National Runner-up
  • 3 NCAA Region Championships
  • 3 NIWBT National Championships
  • 4 Individual National Champions
  • 259 All-American awards
  • 28 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans
  • 3 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients
  • 2 NCAA Volleyball National Player of the Year awards
  • 8 NSIC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards
  • 3 NSIC Male Scholar-Athletes of the Year awards
  • 8 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence for Civic Engagement

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

  • Number of Acres: 216
  • Number of Buildings: 27
  • Building Space Maintained: 1,233,169 sq. ft
  • Building Replacement Value: $463,830,274

Financial Data*

  • Net Tuition and Fees: $14,234,000
  • State Operating Appropriation: $21,147,000
  • Other Revenue: $17,757,000
  • Salaries and Benefits: $38,679,000
  • Other: $17,784,000
  • Total Net Position: $44,454,000

*(Financial data from fiscal year ended June 30, 2022)

Our SMSU Foundation

SMSU Foundation

  • Fiscal Year 2022: (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022)
  • Assets: $24,519,421
  • Contributions Received: $2,745,909
  • Number of Donors: 2,876

Foundation Dollars Contributed:

  • Total Support to SMSU: $3,416,032
  • Scholarship Support: $1,224,522 | 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 estimated at $286.5 million, according to a study commissioned by the Minnesota State system in 2023. This includes a direct impact of $86.3 million and an indirect impact of $86.8 million.

The University supports and sustains 2,248 jobs each year—1,614 direct and 634 indirect. SMSU employs 413 people.

An estimated $4,265,823 in charitable donations and volunteer activities are generated annually by SMSU faculty, staff, and students. This includes donations of $538,755 and the equivalent of $3.7 million in volunteer time.

Approximately, 9,080 alumni live and work in Minnesota, generating $424.5 million in economic impact, and sustaining 2,309 jobs. Over their 40-year careers, SMSU alumni will generate roughly $17 billion to the economy.

SMSU, our suppliers, students, and visitors generate $23.4 million in combined impact on the local and state tax revenue. This includes a direct impact of $15.9 million and an indirect impact of $7.5 million.

Read More About Our Impact

Our Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan is the product of campus-wide collaboration to envision the future for SMSU and to guide our decision-making for the next five years (2021-2026).

The Strategic Plan is a dynamic document with updates made to reflect the changing needs of our students and our institution. The Strategic Plan articulates six strategic priorities that will guide the University in pursuit of its Mission, Vision, and Values:

  1. Affirm and support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Inspire academic success and discovery through innovative teaching, research, student support services, and other high-impact experiences.
  3. Foster civic engagement and strategic partnerships.
  4. Support student engagement and leadership development.
  5. Ensure Effective Institutional Operations and Community Well-being.
  6. Increase enrollment and improve retention.

For further information

Our Community

SMSU is located in Marshall, Minnesota, a friendly, growing community of almost 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, ADM, and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center. Marshall is also home to the Red Baron Arena & Expo, a premier ice facility and event center.

For more information about Marshall visit:

Refer a Student

Alumni and current faculty/staff, please consider referring future Mustangs to the Office of Admission at:

Contact the Office of Admission:

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

Last Modified: 2/6/24 1:11 PM | Website Feedback