USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. See what scholarships you may be eligible for and how to apply.
Scholarships are a form of gift aid that does not need to be repaid. Scholarships are considered part of your financial aid package, and they may replace some or all of your financial aid eligibility.
Scholarships may be awarded for academic excellence, to recognize and encourage development in a particular field of study or for extraordinary artistic or athletic talent. The aid may be provided by the University, the USD Foundation, generous private donors or other sources. All USD scholarships and awards are subject to the university's Scholarship & Award Policy.
All Prospective Students
All prospective students may apply for scholarships using the online academic scholarship application. The academic scholarship application is generally available in the fall of each year with a priority deadline of November 15, and the final deadline for submitting the application is December 1.
By submitting the online scholarship application, you are automatically considered for all academic scholarships that match your qualifications.
As a reminder, you must first apply for admission and be accepted to USD before you can apply for scholarships.
Additional Scholarship Details & Opportunities
At USD, you can benefit from the Coyote Commitment program. All first-time freshman students who apply for fall admission to USD are automatically considered for up to $3,500 per year. Coyote Commitment is available to recipients for up to four years as a full-time student and is based on GPA, standardized test scores and committee review.
The Coyote Commitment may include a combination of funding from other scholarships or additional sources awarded to you. Although there is no deadline or separate application for this award, you should apply to South Dakota prior to April 1 for full consideration.
Child of Alumni Program / Legacy Scholarship
This program provides a limited number of $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to incoming freshman students who are South Dakota residents and whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) graduated from USD.
Open to high school seniors with a 28 or higher ACT (1320 SAT), the scholarship covers tuition for a maximum of 15 credit hours per semester (up to 120 hours over four years), general fees, double occupancy room (funded by a Housing Scholarship) and standard board charges. Mickelson Scholarships recipients must be residents of South Dakota and maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average. This scholarship is available for eight consecutive undergraduate semesters and students enrolled in select disciplines are subject to additional fees. Finalists for Mickelson Scholarships are invited to interview. Deadline December 1.
Presidential Alumni Scholarship
Open to high school seniors with a 27 or higher ACT (1280 SAT), the scholarship is valued at in-state tuition and fees over a four-year period (15 credit hours per semester up to 120 hours over four years). Students enrolled in select disciplines are subject to additional fees. Finalists for Presidential Alumni Scholarships are invited to interview. Deadline December 1.
USD Valedictorian Scholarship
Valued at up to $500 (up to $250 per semester for the first two semesters), the USD Valedictorian Scholarship is presented to high school seniors who rank at the top of their graduating classes during the awarding period. Recipients must remain enrolled full-time on the Vermillion campus.
Dual Credit Scholarship
USD is proud to offer the South Dakota Dual Credit Scholarship to South Dakota students who successfully completed HSDC courses with USD. This scholarship is awarded not just for one year, but for up to four years as a Coyote.
- Earn a "C" or higher in all High School Dual Credit (HSDC) courses
- Any HSDC course completed with a D, F or W will not be counted toward the credit total considered for the scholarship
- Enroll at USD as a first-time, full-time student
Award amounts will be based on how many credit hours the students have completed with USD.
- 1-6 USD credit hours, $600 total ($150 per year)
- 7-12 USD credit hours, $1,100 total ($275 per year)
- 13+ USD credit hours, $1,600 total ($400 per year)
The South Dakota Dual Credit Scholarship will be in addition to other awarded scholarship(s)* at USD. For example, USD’s Coyote Commitment Scholarship, the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship and other awards are available to those who meet established criteria.
*The South Dakota Dual Credit Scholarship will not be in addition to any premier scholarship awarded by USD.*
Prospective transfer students may apply for our transfer scholarships. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members, in particular, are strongly encouraged to apply.
South Dakota Graduate Transfer Scholar’s Program
You can now transfer to the state’s flagship university with financial support if you were offered a scholarship to attend USD in the past. You can take advantage of your original scholarship agreement and choose from the 200 undergraduate programs and 79 graduate programs USD offers.
As a four-year scholarship (eight consecutive semesters), the Graduate Transfer Scholar’s Program provides students with ongoing support throughout the remainder of their undergraduate careers and, if they choose, onto an advanced graduate degree program.
Recipients must complete at least 24 credit hours per academic year, and in most circumstances, they must keep an undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 2.7 or graduate cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all coursework.
Eligible students will need to complete an initial consultation with Undergraduate Admissions and/or Graduate Admissions to form a plan for completion of an undergraduate degree and enrollment in a USD graduate program. The intent to pursue graduate enrollment will be used to assess final eligibility for scholarship funding through this program.
University of South Dakota Scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa and Transfer Students
Scholarships may be awarded to eligible transfer students with a minimum 3.0 GPA or transfer students from two-year colleges who have earned membership into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and intend to pursue their first baccalaureate degree at the University of South Dakota. Students are eligible to apply when they initially transfer to the University of South Dakota. The scholarship provides up to $2,000 (up to $1,000 per year) award renewable for two years. Recipients must remain enrolled full-time on the Vermillion campus.
If you are a first-time user, you will need to create an account before applying for the Transfer Student Scholarship.
Deadline April 15.
Awarded to a select group of high-achieving academic scholar applicants with professional school aspirations, early admission awards grant conditional or provisional acceptance to either the Knudson School of Law or the Sanford School of Medicine. Participation in the USD Honors Program is required.
- USD Knudson School of Law Honor Scholar Program - Recipients of the award earn provisional acceptance into the USD Knudson School of Law.
- Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Student Scholars Program - Awarded to South Dakota high school seniors with an interest in rural medicine, recipients of the award earn conditional acceptance into the Sanford School of Medicine.
The South Dakota Freedom Scholarship is available to a limited number of South Dakota resident students with unmet financial need. Recipients of the scholarship must commit in writing to live and work in South Dakota for three years after graduation. Visit the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship website for a full listing of eligibility requirements.Learn More
Deadline: March 1 for freshmen
This scholarship is awarded to graduates of Stickney, Plankinton or White Lake high schools. This year's application deadline has passed; the scholarship application for next year will be available at a later date.
(25 awards at $10,000 each)
Application Dates: August 1 through October 25 and January 15 through March 15
The Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship provides a $10,000 scholarship to be disbursed throughout a student’s collegiate career. Like all Horatio Alger Scholarships, the Horatio Alger Denny Sanford scholarship assists high school students who have faced great obstacles in their young lives to overcome their adversities, attend a post-secondary institution and achieve success.
To be eligible for the Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship a student must meet the following criteria:
- Be committed to complete a bachelor’s degree at University of South Dakota
- Be a current high school senior with plans to enroll in college Fall 2021
- Demonstrate critical financial need ($55,000 or less family income required)
- Be involved in community service activities
- Display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity
- Maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5
- Be a United States citizen