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 more than $7 million in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students as funded by the USD Foundation through various donors.

Scholarship Acceptance and Terms

Acceptance of an individual scholarship award is an agreement to the terms and conditions of that award as well as all policies governing USD scholarships. 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 letters have been accepted 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 stipulated otherwise by the USD Foundation.

  • When scholarship assistance is equivalent to in-state direct costs, students will be required to reside in on-campus housing.

  • Renewable awards are contingent upon maintaining a minimum grade point average, completion of the donor appreciation letter and meeting all other conditions of the renewal criteria as specified.

Mickelson & Presidential Alumni Scholarships

The most prestigious awards offered by the University of South Dakota, the George S. Mickelson Scholarships and Presidential Alumni Scholarships, provide outstanding recipients with four-year, renewable awards.

  • 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, double occupancy room and board) over a four-year period. 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 with a minimum of 15 hours per semester. Students enrolled in select disciplines are subject to additional fees.
  • The Presidential Alumni Scholarships are valued at in-state tuition and fees over a four-year period (15 credit hours per semester up to 120 hours over four years). Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average. This scholarship is available for eight consecutive undergraduate semesters with a minimum of 15 hours per semester. Students enrolled in select disciplines are subject to additional fees.

Coyote Commitment Scholarship Program

The Coyote Commitment Scholarship offers incoming first-year students a guaranteed annual dollar amount predicated on meeting the required credentials. The actual funds to support a Coyote Commitment Scholarship will be fulfilled through various sources including departmental scholarships. In these cases, Coyote Commitment Scholarship offers may be fulfilled by one or more other scholarships totaling the same amount and will be noted as such in the student's financial account.

Students applying for additional scholarships should do so under the assumption that, if awarded scholarships equal to or greater than the cost of tuition and fees will replace any Coyote Commitment Scholarship offer previously made by the University.

This scholarship is available for eight consecutive undergraduate semesters and recipients must complete at least 24 hours per academic year. In addition, the Coyote Commitment Veritas, Foundation, Distinction, Leadership and Achievement Scholarships require a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for renewal and the Coyote Commitment Promise and Grant require a 2.5.

Additional USD Scholarships and Requirements

  • The Al Neuharth Scholarship for Excellence in Journalism - Valued at $5,000 and may be renewed. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 USD cumulative grade point average, be active in the USD student newspaper, The Volante, and meet all other criteria as specified by the award.

  • Beacom Family Business Scholarship - Valued at up to $5,000 for one year. The Beacom Family Scholarship is a one-time award presented to talented first-year students from South Dakota high schools who plan to major in business field within the  Beacom School of Business.

  • The Rawlins Scholarships - Valued at $10,000 over four years. The scholarships are awarded to the highest ranking senior who completes the academic scholarship application from the following South Dakota high schools: Aberdeen Central, Aberdeen Roncalli, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Huron; Mitchell, Rapid City Central, Rapid City Stevens, Sioux Falls Lincoln, Sioux Falls O'Gorman, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Sioux Falls Washington, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average and complete 30 hours per year.

  • Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) - Qualified students are eligible for two-, three- and four-year on-campus full tuition scholarships, money for books and a non-taxed monthly stipend.

  • Dorothy S. Schieffer Scholarship - Valued at up to the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board for up to four years of full-time study. The Dorothy S. Schieffer Scholarship is awarded to students who major or minor in political science. Preference is given to non-traditional students with clear financial need. At least one international travel or study abroad experience and a working internship or service opportunity may be included. Recipients must maintain a minimum 3.7 grade point average and a workload allowing for prompt graduation.

  • Nolop Institute Scholarship for Medical Biology - This scholarship is awarded to a talented and ambitious student majoring in medical biology who wishes to participate in meaningful research with plans to attend medical school. 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. 

  • Spearfish Area Scholarship - This scholarshipawards up to $40,000 ($10,000 per year, renewable for four years) to an incoming first-year student who is a graduate of Spearfish High School. The scholarship recipient must demonstrate financial need and possess a strong high school academic performance record.

  • Ullyot Lakota Scholarship - valued at $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year). The Ullyot Lakota Scholarship is awarded to Native American students who are members of federally recognized tribes based on academic merit. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 cumulative USD grade point average. Partial, one-time scholarships also are available to American Indian students who demonstrate a commitment to academic learning.

  • 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 enrolling in either the USD College of Fine Arts or the Beacom School of Business and may be renewed annually for four consecutive years provided the recipients maintain a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average, remain enrolled full time on the Vermillion campus and continue the pursuit of a degree in the business of fine arts school/college in which they originally enrolled.

Early Admission Awards

Awarded to high-achieving students with professional school aspirations who are accepted into the USD Honors Program, early admission awards grant conditional or provisional acceptance to either the USD School of Law or the Sanford School of Medicine.

  • USD School of Law Honor Scholar Program
    Open to high school seniors with an interest in law, a 27 or higher ACT (1280 SAT) and excellent grade point average. Recipients of the award earn provisional acceptance into the USD School of Law. Finalists for the Law School Honor Scholar Program are invited to an on-campus interview.

  • Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Student Scholars Program
    Awarded to South Dakota high school seniors with an interest in medicine, 28 or higher ACT (1310 SAT) and excellent grades, recipients of the award earn conditional acceptance into the Sanford School of Medicine at USD. Finalists for the scholarship are asked to interview on campus.

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 that 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. In addition to separate applications, 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 the university. 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.