Considering the fact that it is the fifth least populous state in the United States, you may be surprised to find out that there are actually a bunch of scholarships in South Dakota available to help combat against today’s heavy tuition bills.

As a state with a strong rural character that permeates its entire culture, South Dakota provides students the unique opportunity to study with a breathtaking natural backdrop that offers top-notch recreational activities. Whether you are a native South Dakotan, or will be attending one of the 30 universities located within the state’s borders, read on to learn more about the numerous scholarships that are available to help significantly lower the costs of pursuing a college degree in South Dakota.

1. Avera Health Leaders Scholarship

Deadline: May 9th

Founded in appreciation for the lifetime of healthcare leadership by Sister Colman Coakley, Sister Stephen Davis, Sister Rosaria Kranz, and Sister Blanche Kribell, the Avera Health Leaders Scholarship is granted annually for $2,000 to nurture the next generation of leaders with God-given talent for serving others. Qualified applicants agree to work at Avera Health, be pursuing a health-related undergraduate degree full-time, and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Contact

Avera Health Leaders Scholarship
212 East 11th Street Suite 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 322-7850
[email protected]

2. Brian Meyer Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: October 31st

Through the South Dakota Telecommunications Association (SDTA), the Brian Meyer Memorial Scholarship is presented for $1,000 annually to provide financial assistance to South Dakota students who have completed at least two semesters at any accredited post-secondary school in the state and subscribe to any member company. Applicants must submit their most recent college transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a typed essay discussing the role of technology in future small-town South Dakota.

Contact

Brian Meyer Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 57
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 224-7629
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

3. Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship

Deadline: April 18th

Administered through the South Dakota Board of Regents, the Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship is awarded each year to encourage the graduating high school seniors of South Dakota to fulfill a dire shortage of qualified educators for teaching K-12 special education, high school math and science, or high school career and technical education. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens, be accepted into an accredited education program at a state institution, and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher full-time.

Contact

Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

4. Dakota Corps Scholarship

Deadline: February 1st

Within the South Dakota Board of Regents, the Dakota Corps Scholarship is granted each year to cover the full tuition costs for graduating high school seniors and current undergraduate college students to attend one of the two or four-year institutions within South Dakota. In order to qualify, students must be pursuing a degree for one of the state’s critical need occupations, including special education, nursing, accounting, engineering, and information technology.

Contact

Dakota Corps Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

5. Destination Imagination South Dakota Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

Each year, the Destination Imagination South Dakota Scholarship is distributed for up to $1,750 to outstanding graduating high school seniors and current post-secondary students who have participated in at least one of the creative problem-solving programs that Destination Imagination has sponsored. Candidates should be continuing their involvement as a team member and/or volunteer and be pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university within South Dakota full-time.

Contact

Destination Imagination South Dakota Scholarship
P.O. Box 809
Custer, SD 57730
(605) 673-4974
[email protected]

6. Dr. Paul L. Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: May 15th

For students from South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, or Montana, the Dr. Paul L. Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship is presented through the Northern Plains Eye Foundation annually for $7,500 to senior-level students in their fourth year of undergraduate study who have been accepted into the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. For consideration, candidates must have expressed career interests in ophthalmology or optometry.

Contact

Dr. Paul L. Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship
623 Quincy Street Suite 101
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-6733
[email protected]

7. Golden West Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 15th

As South Dakota’s largest independent telecommunications industry, Golden West hosts an annual scholarship program that provides up to 45 awards for $1,000 each to graduating high school seniors of rural South Dakota who will be pursuing a degree at any accredited U.S. vocational school, military academy, college, or university. Eligible applicants must currently reside within one of the Golden West exchanges and be enrolled at a post-secondary institution for the upcoming fall with at least 12 or more classroom credits.

Contact

Golden West Scholarship Program
1510 National Avenue
Hot Springs, SD 57747
(605) 745-5331
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

8. Guy E. Ham Beef Industry Scholarship

Deadline: August 1st

Sponsored by the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, the Guy E. Ham Beef Industry Scholarship is awarded for $1,000 annually to deserving undergraduate students who have successfully completed at least one full year of post-secondary education with a major related to agriculture or agri-business. Qualified candidates must be South Dakota residents, be members or children of members, and demonstrate a commitment to the future of the agriculture industry.

Contact

Guy E. Ham Beef Industry Scholarship
426 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 342-0429
[email protected]

9. Hagen-Harvey Scholarship

Deadline: March 7th

Within the South Dakota Department of Education, the Hagen-Harvey Memorial Scholarship is granted annually to provide $6,000 over four years of undergraduate study at an accredited South Dakota post-secondary institution for students who are enrolled members of recognized American Indian tribes. Applicants must have graduated from a South Dakota high school, be enrolled in at least 14 credits per semester, and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better.

Contact

Hagen-Harvey Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

10. Haines Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 22nd

Established within the South Dakota Board of Regents by Douglas Fugitt in memory of his wife Dora Lee Haines and her three sisters who taught at one-room rural schools, the Haines Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually for $1,075 to students majoring in education at a South Dakota public university with sophomore, junior, or senior status. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited teacher education program, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better, and submit a two-page statement describing their personal philosophy.

Contact

Haines Memorial Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

11. Harlan and Rita Temple Occupational Therapy Scholarship

Deadline: December 31st

In honor of a successful farmer and his wife who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and turned their farm into a site for occupational therapy classes, the South Dakota Occupational Therapy Association (SDOTA) has created the Harlan and Rita Temple Scholarship. Eligible residents of South Dakota must be pursuing a professional-level degree or occupational therapy assistant degree from an accredited occupational therapy program within the state with a sustained record for extraordinary academic achievement.

Contact

Harlan and Rita Temple Occupational Therapy Scholarship
P.O. Box 1120
Aberdeen, SD 57402
(605) 215-2659
[email protected]

12. Jerry Wheeler Scholarship Program

Deadline: April 11th

Sponsored by the South Dakota Retailers Association (SDRA), the Jerry Wheeler Scholarship Program provides annual awards ranging in value from $500 to $1,000 for students who will be enrolling in a retail-related educational program at an accredited vocational/technical school, college, or university within South Dakota. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college or one semester of vocational training, be enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester, and submit a personal statement of career goals.

Contact

Jerry Wheeler Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 638
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 224-5050
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

13. Joe Foss “An American Hero” Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Within the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, the Joe Foss “An American Hero” Scholarship is awarded each year for $1,000 to graduating high school seniors throughout South Dakota who demonstrate the outstanding characteristics of an American patriot. In order to be eligible, candidates should be planning to attend an accredited college or university in the state, have achieved a score of at least 21 on the ACT, and possess a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Contact

Joe Foss “An American Hero” Scholarship
200 North Cherapa Place
Sioux Falls, SD 57103
(605) 336-7055
[email protected]

14. Jump Start Scholarship

Deadline: September 1st

Since its inception in 2011 within the South Dakota Board of Regents, the Jump Start Scholarship has provided up to $1,866.45 annually to graduating seniors in South Dakota who were able to finish the graduation requirements of public high school in three years or less. Qualified applicants must be attending a campus in South Dakota that is accredited by the North Central Association (NCA), be enrolled full-time for both the fall and spring semester, and maintain good academic standing with satisfactory undergraduate degree progress.

Contact

Jump Start Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

15. Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: Varies

In memory of the president of the South Dakota Board of Regents who served as a significant leader until his death in 1987, the Marlin R. Scaborough Memorial Scholarship provides $1,500 each year to junior and senior-level undergraduate students who are currently enrolled full-time at any public university in the state with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater. Eligible candidates must write a two-page essay discussing their academic achievements, leadership abilities, and participation in community service activities.

Contact

Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

16. Michael (Paco) Sowers Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: January 15th

Established by the South Dakota Solid Waste Management Association (SDSWMA) in remembrance of a professional who died in an accident related to the solid waste industry in 1944, the Michael (Paco) Sowers Memorial Scholarship is granted for $1,000 each year to students aiming for a career in natural resources management. Candidates must be intending to study at a South Dakota college with a major in business administration, geology, hydrology, engineering, environmental sciences, engineering, energy technology, and/or biology.

Contact

Michael (Paco) Sowers Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 978
Aberdeen, SD 57402
(605) 216-3256
[email protected]

17. Nyal Brings Scholarship Program

Deadline: August 1st and January 15th

Each semester, the Dakota Indian Foundation offers the Nyal Brings Scholarship Program to provide $1,000 to Native American students of Lakota, Dakota, or Nakota heritage who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at one of the accredited colleges within South Dakota. Applicants must have at least sophomore-level standing, have successfully completed at least 24 credits, be a college-level athlete in track, show academic potential with a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and demonstrate a commitment to their American Indian culture.

Contact

Nyal Brings Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 340
Chamberlain, SD 57325
(605) 234-5472
Scholarship Link

18. Rita H. Walsh Scholarship Fund

Deadline: July 15th

In honor of her service as an advocate for both patients and nurses, the Rita H. Walsh Scholarship Fund has been created within the South Dakota Nurses Association (SDNA) to provide one annual award for $1,000 to a deserving registered nurse who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in nursing through a bridge program. Eligible nurses must have valid RN licensure, be legal South Dakota residents, demonstrate financial need, and exhibit Walsh’s compassionate qualities for patient advocacy.

Contact

Rita H. Walsh Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 1015
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 945-4265
[email protected]

19. Russ Dangel Memorial Scholarship in Aviation

Deadline: August 10th

Ranging in value from $500 to $1,250 depending on available funds, the Russ Dangel Memorial Scholarship in Aviation is distributed annually by the South Dakota Pilots Association to current undergraduate students who are majoring in aviation within the accredited program offered at South Dakota State University. In order to qualify, applicants must have at least sophomore-level status, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have a demonstrated passion for flight.

Contact

Russ Dangel Memorial Scholarship in Aviation
307 West Blaine Street
Gettysburg, SD 57442
(605) 765-9782
[email protected]

20. South Dakota Bankers Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: December 20th

Annually, the South Dakota Bankers Foundation (SDBA) offers three scholarships for $3,000 each and one scholarship for $4,000 to current junior-level undergraduate students who are enrolled at any of the public or private South Dakota universities with an expressed interest for pursuing a career related to banking, finance, and business. Recipients will be chosen based on their academic achievements, moral character, leadership abilities, commitment to banking, involvement in extra-curricular activities, and previous related work experience.

Contact

South Dakota Bankers Foundation Scholarships
109 West Missouri Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 224-1653
[email protected]

21. South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: December 1st

The South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) Foundation offers annual $2,500 scholarships for continuing full-time students who are pursuing a graduate degree at an accredited South Dakota institution with a major in an agricultural-related field, including agribusiness, agriculture education, animal science, and livestock management. Qualified applicants must be pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, demonstrate a strong interest for working in South Dakota upon graduation, and submit at least two letters of recommendation.

Contact

South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Scholarships
P.O. Box 1388
Huron, SD 57350
(605) 352-6761
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

22. South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

Deadline: June 1st

With authorization by the South Dakota Legislature through the Board of Regents, the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is designed to provide $5,000 over the course of four years to the state’s most academically accomplished graduating high school seniors. Eligible applicants must be attending a participating college or university accredited by the North Central Association (NCA), be attaining a baccalaureate degree, have an ACT composite score of at least 24, and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.

Contact

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship
306 East Capitol Avenue Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3455
[email protected]

23. Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship Award

Deadline: July 1st

Sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation (STACF), the Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship Award is presented annually for $2,500 to students enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program accredited by the North Central Association (NCA) in pursuit of a degree in business. To qualify, individuals must maintain residency in Lincoln or Minnehana County of South Dakota, demonstrate an understanding of the role of business in today’s American society, and exhibit the motivation to succeed in higher education.

Contact

Spirit of Sioux Falls Scholarship Award
200 North Cherapa Place
Sioux Falls, SD 57103
(605) 336-7055
[email protected]

24. Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: March 15th

Within the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice, one $5,000 scholarship and four $4,000 scholarships are granted on an annual basis for undergraduate and/or graduate students residing in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, or North Dakota who exhibit a clear dedication to striving for peace and justice in their post-secondary educational pursuits. For consideration, applicants must express how they will utilize the funding for covering tuition costs, pursuing an internship, or participating in a special project for peace and justice.

Contact

Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation Scholarships
324 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-8125
[email protected]

25. Walter A. and Lucy Yoshiko Buhler Scholarship

Deadline: January 13th

At the University of South Dakota, the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshiko Buhler Scholarship is awarded each year to extraordinary incoming freshmen who will be enrolling in the College of Fine Arts or the Beacom School of Business. In order to receive funding equal to the cost of in-state university tuition for up to 16 credits each semester, candidates must be enrolled full-time on the Vermillion campus, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and continue the pursuit of a degree in the business of fine arts.

Contact

Walter A. and Lucy Yoshiko Buhler Scholarship
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
(605) 677-5434
[email protected]
Scholarship Link

Although George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt probably would never have guessed that the expenses of earning a post-secondary education would cost so heavily, the “Mount Rushmore State” continues to experience historically high tuition rates statewide. Therefore, the government and local organizations have created these 25 great scholarships in South Dakota that will help its residents and students lessen the financial burden for getting on the trail towards academic success.

Additional Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Affording College