State Grants for South Dakota College Students

If you live in South Dakota and are planning to go to one of the state’s 22 colleges or universities, affording your education is probably at the top of your mind. Thankfully, South Dakota has a number of college grants and scholarships available to students that make attending your dream school affordable. We’ve outlined some South Dakota college grants that you’ll want to consider applying for below.

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South Dakota State Grants

1. Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship

The Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship was introduced to help create more teachers for the state. In exchange for monetary assistance through the program, recipients agree to remain in South Dakota for five years after college graduation and work in a teaching area considered a critical need.

Some critical need areas in 2021-22 included K12 Special Education, High School Science, High School Math, and K12 Vocal or Instrumental Music, among others. Failing to meet this requirement will turn the scholarship into an interest-bearing loan.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Taking coursework that prepares you to teach in a critical need area
  • Be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Have a 2.8 minimum GPA
  • Submit application by mid-March
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2. Jump Start Scholarship

For students who graduate high school within 3 years or less can be eligible for the Jump Start Scholarship. This South Dakota college grant gives students $1,500 for their first year of college. 

Some other eligibility criteria include:

  • Have attended a public high school in South Dakota for at least two semesters before graduating
  • Be planning to attend college full-time
  • Plan to attend a participating institution which includes technical schools, colleges, and universities within the state

3. South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

For students studying for their bachelor’s degree in the state, there is the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship. The award grants up to $7,500 over four years to eligible students. 

The scholarship is available to South Dakota high school graduates within 5 years of their graduation or within 1 year of the student’s release from active duty military service. The Opportunity Scholarship is merit-based, however, and there are two ways to qualify initially:

  • Have an ACT Composite of 24 or higher (or comparable SAT score) and a high school GPA of 3.0 and no final grades below a 2.0 (or a C)
  • Have an ACT Composite Score of 28 and meet the ACT college readiness benchmarks of at least 18 for English, 22 for Reading, 22 for Math, and 23 for Science (or comparable SAT scores)

To continue to remain eligible for the grant after the first year of college, students must:

  • Be attending college full-time
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Continue attending a participating college in South Dakota

4. Needs Based Scholarship Program

Also known as SDNBGP, the South Dakota Needs Based Grant Program allows schools to grant financial aid to eligible students. Students who have demonstrated need through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may receive between $500 and $2,000.

5. Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship

For Native American high school seniors in South Dakota or North Dakota, there is the Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship. It awards $500.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Be an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe with a reservation in either South Dakota or North Dakota and provide verification of tribal enrollment
  • Be a resident of North Dakota or South Dakota
  • Demonstrate academic achievement
  • Plan to earn a degree in agriculture, natural resources, or a related field
  • Submit 2 letters of recommendation

6. And More

Other college grants and scholarships specifically for South Dakota residents include:

  • Dakota Corps Scholarship
  • Annis Irene Fowler/Kaden Scholarship
  • Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship

Where Can You Find More Information on South Dakota State Grants?

The South Dakota Board of Regents has information on all of the grants, scholarships, and programs we’ve listed above. There you can find details on application requirements, deadlines, eligibility, and updates to the various programs. Students can also find resources on other programs for financial aid, loan forgiveness, reduced tuition, health insurance, and more. 

If you’re planning on attending college within South Dakota, make sure you look into the grants and scholarships if you meet the qualifications.

There are other scholarships out there, too, if you don’t qualify for any of the awards hosted by the state of South Dakota. By using College Raptor’s College Scholarship Search Tool, you can quickly find scholarships you qualify for and get a head start on your application. Learn more here!

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