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.
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
SD is proud to offer the South Dakota Dual Credit Scholarship to South Dakota students who successfully completed HSDC courses with USD. This scholarship is renewable for up to four years and is in addition to other awarded scholarship(s), such as USD’s Coyote Commitment Scholarship and the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship. Premier scholars (tuition and fees or higher) are excluded.
- 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.*
Coyote Career Kickstart Program
For incoming students who want to kick start their educational journey, with preference to Pell Grant recipients and those whose parents are not college graduates (first-generation). Mentorship, paid work experience and scholarship support are included. Full-time enrollment, a completed FAFSA, and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 are required. Application deadline is May 1.
Premier Scholarships (Greater or equal to tuition and fees)
Please use the online scholarship application to apply for the USD Honors Program and the following USD first-time freshman scholarships
George S. Mickelson Scholarship
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.
Dorothy C. Schieffer Political Science Scholarship
Valued up to the cost of instate tuition, fees, books, room and board for 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 or a working internship/service opportunity may be included.
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 with a 2.5 cumulative grade point average for renewal.
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 as a Medical Biology major. The recipient must have an interest in research, maintain a 3.5 grade point average, complete 30 credit hours per year, and plan to attend medical school.
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 (Business or Fine Arts)
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 with a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average, full-time enrollment, and continued pursuit of the business or fine arts degree.
Departmental and Geographic Scholarships*
Students who complete the online scholarship application are afforded first consideration for premier awards and these listed below. In addition, USD awards numerous other scholarships through the application process.
Allen H. Neuharth Scholarship for Excellence in Journalism Scholarship
Valued at $24,000 ($6000/year), this award is for students in media or journalism who plan to be active in the USD student newspaper, The Volante. Finalists for the Neuharth are invited to interview.
Anne Sorensen Crowley-Lennox Scholarship
This $10,000 ($2500/year) scholarship is awarded to incoming Lennox High School graduates who must maintain full-time enrollment and a 2.5 cumulative grade point average for renewal.
Beacom Family Business Scholarship
For Beacom School of Business students who are graduates of South Dakota high schools. Amounts vary.
Charles & Ellengray Gutzman Kennedy Scholarship
Awarded to one incoming first-time student each year who is a resident of Kossuth County (IA), this $10,000 ($2500/year )scholarship is renewable.
Elma and Delores Haver scholarship
This four-year renewable scholarship is awarded to an incoming Irene-Wakonda High School graduate (secondary preference to Gayville-Volin) with a minimum of a 23 ACT and demonstrated financial need.
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. Finalists are invited to interview.
Karen E. & Dale L. Hofwolt Education Scholarship
Valued at $40,000 ($10,000/year) this scholarship is for a first-year student who has a specific interest in an education degree with preference to graduates from Lyman County (SD) with second preference to any student from South Dakota who plan to teach in state.
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 Education Scholarship
Valued at $20,000 ($5000/year), this elementary education scholarship is for a student who aspire to remain in South Dakota to teach. Full-time enrollment and a 2.5 cumulative grade point average is required for renewal.
South Dakota Boys and Girls State Officer Scholarship
Students elected to a state or national position during the SD American Legion program (American Legion Auxiliary) will receive $1000 for their freshman year.
This $10,000 ($2500/year) scholarship is awarded yearly to ten students majoring in medical or health sciences related fields. Half of the recipients should be enrolled members of federally recognized Indian tribes or part of other populations historically underrepresented in these fields of study.
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 grants conditional or provisional acceptance to either the Knudson School of Law or the Sanford School of Medicine. Completion of the USD Academic Scholarship Application, a cumulative 3.5 undergraduate GPA, and 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 five South Dakota high school seniors with a 28 or higher ACT (1320 SAT) and an interest in rural medicine. Finalists are invited to interview, and recipients earn conditional acceptance into the Sanford School of Medicine.
This scholarship is $2,000 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 is April 30.
Deadline: April 1, 2022.
- Application Form (MUST ATTACH HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT) (may be e-signed or faxed copies)
- Letters of Recommendation (MUST HAVE 3) (Copies will be accepted)
- Financial Information
To be eligible for the Hatterscheidt Scholarship, a student must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a South Dakota Resident; graduating from a SD high school or home school.
- Must show financial need and must apply for Federal Student Aid.
- Must have average minimum high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
- Home school students must have a minimum ACT score of 18 or SAT equivalent (960 as of 2021).
- Applicant must be accepted for admission to the University of South Dakota.
- Applicant must be “full time student” or enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours.
- Applicant must submit a thank you letter to the Board by July 1 or will lose their scholarship.
If you have questions, please contact your admissions counselor.
Completed applications can be mailed to the following address:
Attn: Hatterscheidt Committee
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
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 ($2500/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
(25 awards at $10,000 each)
Application Dates: December 1 - 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 2022
- 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
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. Deadline is May 15.
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.