South Dakota Student Grants for College

Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money

If you are on the hunt for grant or scholarship money for higher education in South Dakota, there are major local resources in your support that you will want to be aware of. Many of these state-funded programs are detailed below with contact information and application requirements. There is plenty of variety in the state scholarships South Dakota offers, so whether you qualify as a veteran or a Native American or a high-school senior committed to a field of study, the South Dakota Board of Regents will ensure you are well taken care of in terms of grant funding. If you apply on-time and ensure your application is complete, accurate, and high quality, you are on your way to receiving grants and scholarships for your graduate or post-graduate education and one step closer to that dream career you have in mind.

But first, in order to get the financial aid package closest to exactly what you need and want, you will want to familiarize yourself with the plethora of opportunities available to you for the advanced level of education you desire or for career training. Begin your journey to a free or deeply discounted college education in South Dakota by completing a free application for federal student aid known as a FAFSA. There is a national deadline for this federal form each year, as well as several South Dakota specific deadlines for various state-funded scholarships. Make sure to keep careful tabs on these deadlines, as the only scholarship you are certain not to receive is one that you haven’t applied for.

South Dakota grants

Getting Started with College Grants

Submit your completed FAFSA application to the U.S. Department of Education as the first step in determining what grants and scholarships you may be eligible for. In order to qualify for the grants below, you must be a certified resident with a physical address in the State of South Dakota.

Don’t forget – timing plays a huge factor in approval and award amounts. Keep in mind throughout your journey that financial resources are limited and yours is not the only application. There are often specific financial aid funds available for those choosing a career in a field that is in need, such as nursing and teaching. The more specific your direction towards your area of interest, the more likely it is that there will be a financially endowed individual or institution who is willing to give scholarship money your way. Make your passions specific and colorful in your scholarship essays, and it will be noticed by those judges who dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to students like you.

Narrow down your field of career interest, since that decision plays a major factor in your institute selection. It is then in your best interest to:

  • investigate grant and scholarship options thoroughly through the financial aid department of the schools you are interested in
  • identify the grant and/or scholarship that serves your wallet and career path, or a combination of several to create a package that makes college affordable for you
  • submit an application for financial assistance prior to the year you will be enrolling in college.

South Dakota Board of Regents

You will hear this name frequently while investigating grant possibilities for this state. The South Dakota Board of Regents is the principle group responsible for the overall fiscal well-being of the following primary, secondary and post-secondary schools in South Dakota. They are a force to be familiar with, as they may be offering you funding to attend one of the following schools, both general and technical and finally special-needs:

Black Hills State University
1200 University St.
Spearfish, SD 57799
(800) 255-2478

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
501 East Saint Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701

University of South Dakota
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
(877) 269-6837

Dakota State University
820 N Washington Ave
Madison, SD 57042
(888) DSU-9988
(888) 378-9988

South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007
(800) 952-3541

SDSU Higher Education Center-West River
515 W. Boulevard
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6823

Northern State University
1200 S. Jay Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401
(605) 626-2544  - main point of contact
(800) NSU-5330 - helpdesk, which is not always staffed

South Dakota Public Universities and Research Center
4801 N. Career Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57017
(605) 367-5640

Capitol University Center
925 E. Sioux
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3023

Electronic University Consortium
Contact the Board of Regents
306 E. Capitol Avenue
Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455

As well as the following technical schools:

Lake Area Technical Institute
230 11th St. N.E.
Water Town, SD 57201
(800) 657-4344

Mitchell Technical Institute
821 N. Capital Street
Mitchell, SD 57301
(800) MTI-1969

Southeast Technical Institute
2320 N. Career Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57107
(800) 247-0789

Western Dakota Technical Institute
800 Mickelson Dr.
Rapid City, SD 57703
(800) 544-8765

And, these special needs schools:

South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
423 17th Avenue
Aberdeen, SD 57401
(888) 275-3814

South Dakota School for the Deaf
2001 E. 8th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57103
(605) 367-5200

Grants vs. Scholarships

Once you ascertain which of the above schools you might be interested in pursuing a degree at, take a look at the myriad of grants and scholarships below to get a feel for what combination of aid options might be suitable for you. No two are the same – a grant is an award of funds provided by a corporation, foundation, government, or trust and given to a recipient. Grants do not require the recipient to pay back the funds. Financial support through a scholarship, however, is awarded based on various conditions of the recipient. The conditions mirror the principles and rationale of the benefactor or originator of the award. Scholarships are commonly awarded dependent on the following four conditions:

  • merit: scholarships based on personal achievement may require high academic standards, extra-curricular activity participation, good essay quality, and letters of recommendation. Many of these highly selective prizes do not require a pay back, but watch out for the ones that do and consider whether that is a viable option for you.
  • need: awarded to students whose income falls within a specific low income range and would otherwise not be able to go to school.
  • student-specific: each scholarship is based on definite criteria and varies from scholarship to scholarship, for ex. Hispanic College Fund or Scholarship for Financially Needy Women.
  • career-specific: the Uniformed Services of the United States (i.e. army, navy, etc.) requires the recipient to work for them and for an exact period of time, or repay the value of the support. This is often the case with scholarships originating from private industries as well.

Terms of Financial Support

South Dakota grants awarded a maximum amount of $5,000 per year, according to some of the qualifications above and demonstrated need. These grants require that the applicant has:

  • taken part in the Regent Scholarship high school program
  • has high ACT ( an average rating is 21) and SAT (an average rating is 1500) scores; and
  • the grant is for a degreed curriculum at a South Dakota state college or university (see the listing above).

Grant and Scholarship Listing

Ardell Bjugstad Award
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

This award is a $500 scholarship given in two payments of $250 (fall semester and spring semester). Requirements for the Ardell Bjugstad Award include:

  • freshman Native-American student; and
  • studying an agricultural or natural resources science at a state college or university
  • a registered member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe located in South Dakota or North Dakota.

American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship
Department Secretary
P.O. Box 117
Huron, SD 57350-0117
Phone: 605-353-1793

American Legion South Dakota Oratorical Contest
American Legion, Department of South Dakota Department Adjutant
P.O. Box 57
Watertown, SD 57202-0067
Phone: 605-886-3604

Federal Pell Grant
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

The Pell Grant is:

  • subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education; and
  • does not require repayment; and
  • is based on a financial need formula decided by US Congress; and
  • low income families are the targeted recipients; and
  • requires verified financial need; and
  • the recipient may only received this from only one school at a time; and
  • is based on EFC (expected family contribution).

Annis I. Fowler/Kaden Scholarship
South Dakota Board of Regents
Scholarship Committee
306 East Capitol, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

This award is specially targeted towards those outstanding students who are dedicated to studying and working in elementary education, and either support themselves financially, are exceptionally motivated, or have a disability of some sort. The scholarship is only available to first-year students entering certain colleges, so check the website for further details.

Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship
American Legion South Dakota Auxiliary
Department Secretary
P.O. Box 117
Huron, SD 57350-0117
Phone: 605-353-1793

CPA Society Scholarships
1000 North West Avenue, Suite 100
PO BOX 1798
Sioux Falls, SD 57101-1798
PH: (605) 334-3848

The Certified Public Accountants of South Dakota give away around $15,000 a year in scholarship money to those students who show a promising future in the financial world of accounting. They offer both the Accounting Program Completion Scholarship and the Accounting Excellence Scholarships to deserving applicants. See their website for specific application details.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

The recipient of one of these federal SEOG grants is generally a student with a low expected family contribution to their college fund and a high financial need. You will automatically apply for this when you file a FAFSA. They must:

  • be a citizen of the United States, or an eligible non-citizen; and
  • without a bachelors degree; and
  • not in default of a federal student loan
  • have not received an overpayment from a Pell Grant; and
  • have filed a FAFSA.

Haines Memorial Scholarship
South Dakota Board of Regents Scholarship Committee
306 East Capitol, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

The Haines Memorial Scholarship is specific to upperclassmen (not freshmen) who are committed to studying education and pursuing a career in teaching.

Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship
306 East Capitol, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

This award is not one you personally can apply for – instead, you must be nominated. Each public university in South Dakota nominates one student, so make sure you are in the good favor of your professors and you may have a chance at this very selective prize.

South Dakota Board of Regents General Contact for Grants and Scholarships
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
South Dakota Department of Education
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2291
PH: (605) 773-3248
Fax: (605) 773-6139

South Dakota Space Grant Consortium
501 East St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701-3995
PH: (605) 394-1975

The award stipend from the Space Consortium is specifically intended for:

  • students from varied backgrounds; and
  • pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that coincide with NASA’s goals; and is an
  • Educational Stipend – $1,000 to $2,500; and
  • NASA, other government, or Industry Internship Stipend – $7,500; and
  • Undergraduate Research Stipend -$7,000; and
  • Graduate Research Stipend -$14,000.

Scholarship for College or Vocational School
Department Secretary
P.O. Box 117
Huron, SD 57350-0117
Phone: 605-353-1793

This award sponsored by the South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary provides several scholarships in the amount of $500 to deserving students. See the website for specific requirements.

South Dakota National Guard Tuition Assistance
Soldiers and Sailors Building
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
PH: (605) 773-3269

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarships are given through the South Dakota’s Department of Education in various amounts up to $5,000.00

Work-Study Program
306 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 200
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2545
PH: (605) 773-3455

Intended for:

  • financial need students; who are
  • expected to work 20 hrs/week during the year and 35 during break; and
  • receive an hourly pay every two weeks in compliance with the Federal Minimum Wage; and
  • contact the college or university’s Financial Aid Office for information.

Tuition for Veterans

If you are a veteran, or even have a parent who is a veteran, it is well worth exploring the options available from the federal government to those who have served in that capacity. The South Dakota Department of Military and Veterans Affairs can help you decide if you or your parents qualify as veterans, and therefore free tuition. You may be eligible to receive undergraduate courses at state colleges and universities tuition-free if you are ineligible for educational payments under the GI Bill or another federal education program.

If you are deemed eligible, you will receive one month free tuition for each month of qualifying service (total time on active duty between the start and ending dates of your service during conflict or hostile times). You will receive at least one year of free tuition, but at no time will you receive more than four free academic years. Qualifiers include:

  • you were a legal resident of South Dakota for six months or longer before enlisting; and
  • honorably discharged; or
  • presently on active duty; and
  • your service dates include: January 1, 1993 and September 10, 2001
  • between September 11, 2001 and an undetermined date may be eligible for an additional benefit payment
  • Desert Storm August 2, 1990 through December 31, 1992

The South Dakota Department of the Military and Department of Veterans Affairs will have more information. For an application contact:
South Dakota Veterans’ Bonus
500 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-7251

More Options for South Dakotans

As you can see from the above listing of grants and scholarships available to those pursuing a college study of any kind in South Dakota, opportunities are not scarce. Once you choose an appropriate school, file a FAFSA, determine a good financial aid package, and receive your awards, the hardest part of paying for your college education will be taken care of. Make sure to contact your school’s financial aid and scholarship office specifically to inquire as to any new awards or any that you may not be aware of, and make the specifics of your situation and finances known. The more clear and pointed your interest in secondary education, the more you will be aided for your enthusiasm and commitment to lifelong learning. Apply for the FAFSA now as your first stepping stone in a coveted higher education and successful career originating in South Dakota.


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