Applying for scholarships can make a big impact — even a small scholarship can have an impact on making your Dakota Dreams come true by pursuing education after high school. Don’t miss out on these worthwhile opportunities to make your dreams more affordable! Click on the scholarship images below to view full requirements and application details.

Build Dakota Scholarship

Sometimes your Dakota Dreams can help make the dreams of others a reality — a career in nursing, engineering, automotive, or ag technology are high-need jobs that help to provide essential services to your community, friends, and family.

Build Dakota is a scholarship program created for skilled scholars entering high-demand programs at South Dakota technical colleges — allowing South Dakotans to earn their degrees for free, and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to apply!

By applying for the Build Dakota Scholarship, you’re one step closer to a successful future — opening the door to get there faster and debt-free, by supporting tuition, fees, books, and other required program expenses in the eligible technical college programs.

Accepting the scholarship means you agree to:

  • Enroll full-time in a high-need industry program at a South Dakota technical college.
  • Following graduation, work full-time in your field of study for a minimum of three years in South Dakota.
  • Students who graduate from South Dakota technical colleges have a 98-100% placement rate.

Dakota Corps Scholarship

The Dakota Corps Scholarship for high school and college students in South Dakota provides full tuition and generally applicable fees to selected qualified applicants in pursuing education in critical need occupations.  These students agree to obtain their postsecondary education in South Dakota, remain in the state upon completion of their education and contribute to the state of South Dakota and its citizens by working in a critical need occupation. 

Occupations for the 2022-2023 academic year:

  • Teacher
    • K-12 Special Education
    • High School Math
    • High School Science
    • High School Career and Technical Education
    • K-12 Foreign Language
    • Secondary Language Arts
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Language Learners (ELL)
    • K-12 Vocal or Instrumental Music
  • Accountant / Auditor
  • Engineer (all fields EXCEPT mining, chemical, biomedical, and computer hardware)
  • ​​Information Technology
  • Registered Nurse


SD Opportunity Scholarship

The SD Opportunity Scholarship was established to allow South Dakota’s most academically accomplished high school graduates to receive an affordable education at any Higher Learning Commission accredited university, college or technical school in South Dakota. 

The scholarship provides up to $6,500 over four years to qualifying students who attend an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota.  

Scholarship qualifications at a glance

Option 1

  • SD Resident
  • ACT 24
  • Complete required coursework with C and above
  • 0 GPA
  • Attend SD School
  • Enter program within 5 years of Graduation

Option 2

  • SD Resident
  • ACT 28
  • Attend SD School
  • Enter program within 5 years of Graduation

(full details and requirements)

Freedom Scholarship 

Education after high school can be expensive for anyone, but with the clear financial gap in postsecondary education, the fees and cost can disproportionality effect South Dakotans — The Freedom Scholarship wants to change that. A state-wide initiative, it encourages students of all economic backgrounds to live and work in South Dakota after graduation.

Apply today! 

The South Dakota Freedom Scholarship is South Dakota’s first public / private partnership for a need-based scholarship — now the state’s largest financial need-based scholarship — made possible by the generosity of First PREMIER Bank / PREMIER Bankcard, the State of South Dakota under the leadership of Governor Kristi Noem, Avera Health, and Sanford Health. Managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation, this funding is in an endowment that will continue to provide scholarships in perpetuity.

Critical Needs Teaching Scholarship

Deadline is April 15th — Apply today! 

Established under Senate Bill 233 in 2013, the Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship opens doors for students preparing to work in a critical need teaching area.  Students who will be Juniors or Seniors in the upcoming academic year and who are accepted into an elementary or secondary education program at a participating South Dakota postsecondary institution are eligible to apply. 

The critical teaching needs areas with in a public, private, or parochial school for the 2020-2021 academic year include:

  • Teaching K-12 Special Education
  • Teaching High School Math or Science
  • Teaching High School Career and Technical Education
  • Teaching Secondary Language Arts
  • Teaching Secondary World Language
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Teaching K-12 Vocal or Instrumental Music

Other Statewide Scholarships 

Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship

  • The Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship Program for Native American Students provides support for freshman Native American Students who are pursuing studies in agribusiness, agricultural production, agricultural sciences, or a natural resources degree at any postsecondary institution.

Annis Irene Fowler/Kaden Scholarship

  • The Annis Irene Fowler/Kaden Scholarship is awarded to first-time entering freshman at BHSU, DSU, NSU or USD and who will select elementary education as their major field. Special consideration is given to students with demonstrated motivational ability, a disability, or who are self-supporting.

Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship

  • The Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a student who is classified as a junior at a public university at the time funding is received. Each South Dakota public university nominates one student for the scholarship.

Institutional Scholarships

Black Hills State University

BHSU Scholarships of Distinction of $1,000-$4,000 per year are awarded to qualifying first-time students, based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores. All first-time students who apply for admission to BHSU before February 1st are automatically considered for Scholarships of Distinction. Click here to learn more.

Dakota State University

DSU Champion Scholarships are awarded at different levels to traditional, incoming freshmen. These scholarship levels are dependent upon an individual’s high school GPA and standardized test scores. If the student continues to meet this high academic standard these awards can be renewed annually for up to four years. Awards for Champion Scholarships range from $3,000 to $20,000 over the course of four academic years. These Champion Scholarships are funded through annual and endowed funds. Click here to learn more.

DSU Rising Scholarships are awarded to traditional, incoming freshmen in the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences. This scholarship is dependent upon an individual’s high school GPA and standardized test scores. If the student continues to meet this high academic standard these awards can be renewed annually for up to four years. The DSU Rising Scholarship is awarded at up to $20,000 over the course of four academic years. Click here to learn more.


Northern State University

The WolfPACT Scholarship is one of the most generous and far-reaching scholarship in the region. The WolfPACT Scholarship is available for all first-time freshmen and is based on GPA and ACT or SAT scores (SAT Scores are based on total scores from the redesigned SAT). June is the last test date ACT or SAT test scores will be allowed for the upcoming fall semester. Click here to learn more.


South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

South Dakota Mines’ four-year scholarship program is the most extensive scholarship program for engineering and science students in the state.  Scholarships are awarded to incoming freshman students who have applied and been accepted by January 15. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $7,000, based on ACT/SAT scores and at least a 3.0 high school GPA.  Click here to learn more.


South Dakota State University

Jackrabbit Guarantee: SDSU’s scholarship program is a commitment by SDSU to provide scholarships ranging from $1,000 - $4,000 annually to qualifying first time students, based off a student’s HS GPA or a combination of HS GPA and ACT or SAT score. Click here to learn more.


University of South Dakota

Coyote Commitment: 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. Click here to learn more. 


Western Dakota Technical College

Western Dakota Technical College’s scholarship portal provides scholarship application resources and a listing of 3rd Party scholarships in addition to its own universal scholarship application for over $400,000 of scholarships each academic year. Click here to learn more.