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USD awards nearly $10.7 million each year in student scholarships. 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 Undergraduate 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

Explore the scholarship details below for information about scholarships you may be eligible for.

Talent Scholarships

Talent scholarships are awarded to students by academic departments based on a separate application and supplemental materials (auditions for theatre and music and a portfolio for art).

Outside Scholarships

There are many outside scholarships you can consider as you make a plan to pay for your education. Here are a few additional scholarship opportunities available through federal, state and other sources.

This scholarship is $2,500 for the freshman year and recipients must be residents of South Dakota (graduate from a South Dakota high school), have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and show financial need through completing the FAFSA.

Deadline: April 1  

If you have questions, please contact your admissions counselor.

Completed applications can be mailed to the following address:

Attn: Hatterscheidt Committee
Office of Admissions
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069

Download an Application

The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $7,500 over four years to a qualifying student who attends an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota.

Learn More and Apply

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 new applicants and renewals are determined prior to fall semester.

Five $10,000 ($2,500/year) scholarships are awarded yearly to graduates of Stickney, Plankinton or White Lake high schools with financial need who plan to attend a South Dakota Board of Regents institution. Renewal requires full-time enrollment and a cumulative GPA of 3.0

Download an Application

(12 awards at $20,000 each)

Application Dates: December 1 - March 15

The Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship provides a $20,000 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 enrolled full time as a high school student in the United States; be progressing normally toward graduation with plans to enter a college in the United States no later than the fall following graduation
  • Demonstrate critical financial need ($65,000 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

Learn More  Apply

This program is for the children and dependent grandchildren of full-time and retired employees. Scholarship amounts are need based, and determined by the USD Financial Aid Office, based on the unmet financial need. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 GPA, be enrolled full-time, complete the FAFSA, and submit a thank you letter. To apply, students must be admitted or enrolled and have active USD login credentials.  Deadline is May 15.

Application Link

Additional Opportunities

The US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website has additional scholarship information. Students can also find other opportunities at Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com.

Current USD Students

USD is committed to offering incoming students the best scholarship package possible and having that in place for their collegiate career. Once enrolled, USD allows a student’s academic progress to lead the discussion for additional scholarships. If a department has additional funding, a student’s advisor or department chair makes the determination. At USD, other than established certification programs such as nursing and education, there are no applications needed for returning students.

Make sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, students should check community, church, civic opportunities and companies in which you/your parents are employed.

If there are extenuating circumstances or a situation which impacts your family’s ability to finance your education, please feel free to contact USD’s Financial Aid Office.

Two USD students sitting in a Charlie Cart for campus tours and smiling.

Ambassador Scholars Program

The Ambassador Scholars program provides passionate and engaged students with an opportunity to earn scholarship funds while representing USD’s campus community. Ambassador Scholars will gain experience supporting several offices on campus as they develop leadership skills, build professional networks and contribute to the success of our campus community. Undergraduate students enrolled full-time at USD’s Vermillion campus are invited to apply. 

Learn more and apply

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