Attending College In South Dakota: What You Need To Know (Including South Dakota Scholarships)

Attending College In South Dakota: What You Need To Know (Including South Dakota Scholarships)

South Dakota, also known as the “Mount Rushmore State”, is a beautiful and unique state to attend college. With its breathtaking landscapes, friendly communities, and excellent educational institutions, it offers a unique college experience for students. If you are considering attending college in South Dakota, there are certain things you need to know, including information on scholarships available in the state.

Higher Education Institutions in South Dakota:

South Dakota is home to several reputable higher education institutions, both public and private. The University of South Dakota (USD), located in Vermillion, is the oldest public university in the state and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. South Dakota State University (SDSU), located in Brookings, is another well-regarded public university known for its strong programs in agriculture, engineering, and health sciences.

Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are also public universities in the state, each offering unique programs and opportunities. On the private side, Augustana University, Mount Marty University, and Dakota Wesleyan University are highly regarded options for students seeking a private college experience.

Affordability and South Dakota Scholarships:

One of the major advantages of attending college in South Dakota is its affordability. South Dakota consistently ranks among the most affordable states for higher education, making it an attractive option for students looking to avoid excessive student loan debt.

In addition to affordable tuition rates, the state of South Dakota also offers various scholarships to help students offset the cost of their education. Here are some notable scholarships available in South Dakota:

1. South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship: This scholarship provides up to $6,500 per year to eligible high school graduates who meet specific academic requirements. It can be used at any South Dakota public university or participating private university.

2. Dakota Corps Scholarship: Aimed at students pursuing high-demand careers in South Dakota, this scholarship provides up to $12,000 per year. Recipients must commit to working in South Dakota in their respective fields for a certain period after graduation.

3. South Dakota Opportunity Grant: This need-based grant is available to South Dakota residents attending private, non-profit institutions in the state. The amount awarded varies based on financial need.

4. South Dakota Board of Regents Scholarships: These scholarships are available to students attending South Dakota’s public universities and range in value. Criteria for eligibility include academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, community service, and leadership.

5. Tribal Scholarships: Several Native American tribes in South Dakota offer scholarships to their tribal members pursuing higher education. These scholarships can provide financial support to eligible students.

Living in South Dakota:

South Dakota offers a unique lifestyle, combining the beauty of its natural landscapes with the warmth of its communities. With a relatively low cost of living, students can enjoy a high quality of life while attending college.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate South Dakota’s abundant natural wonders, including the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park. These areas offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

The state’s larger cities, such as Sioux Falls and Rapid City, provide a vibrant social scene with a range of entertainment options, including live music, theater, and diverse dining experiences. Smaller towns in South Dakota, on the other hand, offer a close-knit community feel where students can quickly become part of the local fabric.

Career Opportunities:

South Dakota’s economy is diversified, offering a range of career opportunities for college graduates. Agriculture and agribusiness, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, and tourism are among the key industries driving the state’s economy.

The state also has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, with many small businesses thriving. Graduates who want to start their own business or work in a supportive environment will find opportunities in South Dakota.


Attending college in South Dakota can be a rewarding experience with its affordable tuition rates, beautiful landscapes, friendly communities, and diverse career opportunities. The state offers a range of scholarships to help students manage their finances effectively. Whether you choose to attend a public or private institution, South Dakota provides ample opportunities for academic growth, personal development, and a unique college experience.

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