Scholarship Award Policy

The University of South Dakota is proud to honor academically talented and exceptionally skilled students with a variety of scholarships and awards. The university annually awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students as funded by the USD Foundation through various generous donors.

Scholarship Acceptance and Terms

Acceptance of an individual student aid award is an agreement to the terms and conditions of that award as well as all policies governing USD scholarships. It also permits USD and the USD Foundation to release basic information (name, year in school, hometown, major, etc.) to donors, media, educational affiliates, and for use in University communications.

Every student's financial award package (scholarships, gift and need-based assistance) is subject to audit with the final determination to be made by the USD Financial Aid Office in compliance with federal aid regulations. A student's USD funds may not exceed in-state direct costs (tuition, fees, room and board). If the student also receives non-USD funds (including all forms of federal, state and external assistance), the total of all funds cannot exceed the total direct and indirect costs of education. Indirect costs include allowances for personal expenses and transportation.

  • USD reserves the right to adjust individual scholarship awards after a student has accepted them to ensure effective use of federal, state and university dollars.
  • Full-time fall and spring enrollment (or program equivalency) on the Vermillion campus is required for all USD scholarship recipients, unless otherwise stipulated by USD Foundation donor preferences.
  • Renewable awards are contingent upon maintaining a minimum grade point average, completion of donor appreciation letters if requested, and meeting all other conditions of the renewal criteria as specified in the award notification.
  • Scholarships may not be pre-paid, such as early graduation, or accessed prior to the semester(s) indicated in the award notification.
  • Priority consideration for scholarship recipients will be given to those who complete online academic scholarship applications.
  • If a student is awarded any scholarship equal to or greater than the cost of in-state tuition and fees for 30 credits, the Coyote Commitment, USD Dual Credit, USD Housing, USD Grant, or USD Valedictorian Scholarship offers previously made by the University will be replaced with the new award.
  • Students wishing to appeal or petition USD scholarship criteria or renewal should complete the Scholarship Appeal Process in Coyote One Stop. 

Mickelson & Presidential Alumni Scholarships

Prestigious awards offered by the University of South Dakota include the George S. Mickelson and Presidential Alumni Scholarships, which provide outstanding recipients with four-year, renewable awards. Both programs are available for eight consecutive undergraduate semesters (30 credits/year), require participation in the USD Honors Program, and a 3.5 cumulative grade point average. Students enrolled in select disciplines are subject to additional fees.

  • The Mickelson Scholarships are valued at in-state direct costs (tuition for 15 credit hours per semester up to 120 hours over four years, general fees, prorated double occupancy in a traditional-style residence hall, and standard meal plan). Recipients must be a SD resident.
  • The Presidential Alumni Scholarships are valued at in-state tuition and general fees over a four-year period (30 credit hours per year, 120 hours for four years).

Coyote Commitment Scholarship Program

The Coyote Commitment Scholarship and USD Grant program offer incoming students a guaranteed annual dollar amount predicated on meeting required credentials. The actual funds to support a Coyote Commitment Scholarship will be fulfilled through various sources including departmental scholarships. On student financial aid accounts, the Coyote Commitment Scholarship level will be noted. If a donor appreciation letter is requested, students will be notified via email.

In addition, the Coyote Commitment Heritage, Veritas, Excellence, Foundation, Distinction, Leadership and Achievement Scholarships require a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for renewal and the Promise and USD Grant require a 2.5. Graduate Transfer Scholarships mirror the Coyote Commitment amounts and renewal requirements. This scholarship program is available for eight consecutive undergraduate or graduate semesters (fall/spring) and recipients must complete full-time enrollment in each academic year.

If a student is the recipient of a premier scholarship, the Coyote Commitment Scholarship or USD Grant offer previously made by the University will be replaced with the new award(s).

Additional USD Scholarships and Requirements

  • Al Neuharth Scholarship for Excellence in Journalism - Valued at $20,000 ($5000/year), this award may be renewed if recipients are active in the USD student newspaper, (The Volante) or other student media, and meet other criteria as specified by the award notification.
  • Dorothy C. Schieffer Scholarship - Valued up to the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for a maximum of four years of full-time study in political science, Schieffer Scholars must maintain a 3.7 cumulative grade point average. At least one international travel/study abroad experience and a working internship/service opportunity may be included.
  • Glenn E. & Barbara R. Ullyot Lakota Scholarship - Glenn E. & Barbara R. Ullyot Lakota Scholarship - Valued at $20,000 ($5000 per year), the Ullyot Lakota Scholarship is awarded to American Indian students who are members of federally recognized tribes based on academic merit. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average and be enrolled full-time.
  • H. Walter & E. Joyce Rembold Scholarship - This $40,000 ($10,000 per year) scholarship is awarded to incoming Scotland High School graduates who must maintain full-time enrollment and a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.
  • Nolop Institute Scholarship for Medical Biology - Renewable for four years, this award is valued at the price of in-state tuition, fees, room, board and books for up to four years of full-time study. The recipient must maintain a 3.5 grade point average and complete 30 credit hours per year.
  • Rawlins Scholarships - Valued at $10,000 ($2500/year), the scholarships are awarded to the highest-ranking graduates from select South Dakota high schools with preference to scholarship applicants. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average and complete 30 hours per year.
  • Robert "Bid" and Jonette "Joni" Miller Scholarship - Valued at $20,000 ($5000/year), this elementary education scholarship is for students who aspire to remain in South Dakota to teach. Full-time enrollment and a 2.5 cumulative grade point average is required.
  • Spearfish Area Scholarship – Valued at $48,000 ($12,000/year), this scholarship is awarded to a graduate of Spearfish High School (secondary preference to Belle Fourche). The recipient must be a full-time student, maintain a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate substantial financial need.
  • Walter A. & Lucy Yoshiko Buhler Scholarship - Valued at the cost of in-state tuition and fees for up to 15 undergraduate credit hours per semester, the Buhler scholarship is awarded to exceptional students enrolled in the College of Fine Arts (even years) and the Beacom School of Business (odd years) and may be renewed provided the recipients maintain a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average, are enrolled full-time, and continue the pursuit of a business or fine arts degree.

Early Admission Awards

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.

Student Athletes

Student-athletes are subject to all NCAA regulations and guidelines. Individual scholarships may be adjusted to ensure compliance with these rules and regulations. Scholarship offers are not considered final until indicated on an athletic tender or verified through the USD athletic compliance office. Questions should be directed to the USD Department of Athletics.

Study Abroad and National Student Exchange

For USD Direct, USD Sponsored and NSE Plan B programs, students may apply USD scholarships to the cost of participation. This includes the Mickelson Scholarship, Presidential Alumni Scholarship and Coyote Commitment awards (including all departmental awards that comprise these scholarships). Students may use these scholarships for up to two semesters of study away participation.

If students elect to participate in NSE Plan A, USD Affiliate or another program, they will not be eligible to apply USD scholarships to the study away term and will lose that semester of award eligibility. USD Scholarships are renewable following study away participation provided students maintain the minimum grade point average and meet all other conditions as specified by each award.

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarships

The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship (SDOS) is available to residents who meet eligibility criteria/requirements. Application should be submitted to the USD Office of Admissions. Eligibility and renewal are established under South Dakota law. Renewal questions regarding this award should be directed to the USD Financial Aid Office.

Talent and Leadership Scholarships

Additional opportunities may also be available through departments such as music, art, theatre and military science. These scholarships may require auditions, portfolios or other qualifying procedures. Questions regarding these awards should be directed to the sponsoring department/program.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a fundamental concept underlying the educational enterprise of USD. We are committed to honesty, fairness, trust, respect, and taking responsibility for our actions. All students are expected to abide by the principles of academic integrity and the USD Student Code of Conduct.

All programs, policies and procedures described are subject to change. All statements in this publication concerning requirements, dollar amounts, conditions or other matters are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice.

October 2021

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