10 South Dakota Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
Rolling prairies, historical monuments, streams and hills — these are all features that define South Dakota. Even though that state is one of the smallest in the nation in terms of population, it continues to offer abundant educational opportunities, including scholarships for its residents.
10 South Dakota Scholarships
Amount: Up to $6,500
Deadline: September 1 (fall enrollment)/January 15 (spring enrollment)
Eligibility: Minimum 24 ACT or 1180 SAT and 3.0 GPA and attend an approved school in South Dakota
Application Requirements: Application, transcript, SAT/ACT score report
The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to students who have pursued a challenging curriculum and high academic standards. The scholarship may be granted to students for the equivalent of four academic years or until they receive their baccalaureate degree.
Deadline: April 29
Eligibility: High school seniors and residents of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Wisconsin
Application Requirements: Registration
Students who are planning on attending an eligible college the fall following registration may register for this scholarship. There are no financial need, minimum grade point average or class rank requirements. Recipients are selected from a random drawing. Parents may also sign up on behalf of their students.
Amount: Minimum $6,000 for four years of attendance (total)
Deadline: April 13
Eligibility: Enrolled members of American Indian tribes who graduated from an accredited South Dakota high school who apply within five years after high school graduation
Application Requirements: Application, transcript, two letters of recommendation, essay, verification of tribal enrollment, personal statement, community service, standardized test scores if available
American Indian tribal members can take advantage of this scholarship, amounting to a minimum of $1,000 each for the first two years, a minimum of $1,500 for the third year, and $2,500 for the fourth year. Students must submit an essay explaining why they deserve to receive the scholarship.
Amount: Tuition and fees (varies)
Deadline: February 1
Eligibility: Must commit to enter a critical need occupation in state following completion of the program of study; must have a minimum 2.8 GPA and 27 ACT or SAT equivalent
Application Requirements: Application; certification of GPA, class rank, and ACT/SAT from school official; signed Acceptance and Promissory Note
The Dakota Corps Scholarship Program was established to encourage South Dakota’s high school graduates to complete their postsecondary education in state and work in a critical need occupation. Critical need occupations vary from year to year; in 2022–23, they include Teacher, Accountant, Engineer, Information Technology, and Registered Nurse.
Deadline: April 15
Eligibility: Must attend a participating SD postsecondary institution and have a minimum 2.8 GPA
Application Requirements: Agreement in writing to stay in South Dakota and work in a critical teaching need occupation, promissory note, scholarship application form, employment verification form
The Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship encourages South Dakota residents to become teachers in the state. Upon program completion, recipients must work in a critical need teaching area in South Dakota.
Deadline: March 11
Eligibility: High school senior in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas Plains, or Southwest Iowa
Application Requirements: Essay, application, recommendations
Honoring former Better Business Bureau President Scott Mecham, these awards recognize students who personify the values of leadership and integrity that Mecham exemplified. Qualities that are considered include community service, leadership, and academic excellence.
Deadline: February 25
Eligibility: Enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe whose reservation is located in South Dakota or North Dakota
Application Requirements: Application, transcript, two letters of recommendation, verification of tribal enrollment
The Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship Program for Native American High School Seniors recognizes students planning to pursue a degree in agriculture or natural resources or a related field. Applicants must be enrolled members of a federally recognized Indian tribe whose reservation is located in South Dakota or North Dakota.
Deadline: June 30
Eligibility: Must be of Korean heritage, have a minimum 3.0 GPA and enroll at a school in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin
Application Requirements: Application, essay, recommendations
This award is offered to qualified Korean American students, including foreign students from Korea (if additional funds are available, non-Korean descendants of American veterans who served in the Korean War may apply as well). Applicants are evaluated based on financial need, scholastic achievement, community service, and extracurricular activities.
Eligibility: Must complete the requirements of a recommended high school program (per the Board of Education) and complete high school in three years or fewer
Application Requirements: Application, transcript
The Jump Start Scholarship supports students who graduate from a public high school in three years or fewer. In order to be eligible, students must enroll in a college, university, or technical school accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota.
Deadline: Set by individual universities
Eligibility: Students in their junior year at public universities in South Dakota with a minimum 3.5 GPA
Application Requirements: Nomination from university, application, essay
Named for the late president of the South Dakota Board of Regents, this scholarship supports students who are already in college at a South Dakota public university. Each school may nominate one student each year. As part of their applications, students will complete an essay explaining their leadership and academic qualities, career plans, and educational interests.
Tips for Applying for Scholarships
1. Look to institutional aid first.
Your best source of financial aid is the college or university you attend. Many schools offer generous packages, including both merit and need-based scholarships, and most of the top schools have done away with loans. That means you won’t even have to pay back the awards you receive.
2. Start early.
Kick off your scholarship search freshman year. That way, you will have mapped out your strategy by the time college season rolls around, when you’re bogged down with college applications. You’ll also be able to take advantage of scholarships with earlier deadlines.
3. Cast a wide net.
Apply for as many scholarships as you can — assuming you meet the qualifications. There’s no limit to the number of awards you can win (although they may impact your institutional aid), so there’s no downside to applying — and continuing to apply!