South Dakota Freedom Scholarship

There is an obvious financial gap in post-secondary education in South Dakota. This scholarship is a state-wide initiative to encourage students of all economic backgrounds to live and work in South Dakota after graduation, a pursuit only made possible by the generous contributions from donors across the state. 

The Freedom Scholarship, South Dakota's first public/private partnership for a need-based scholarship, is entering its pilot year with $5.1 million to be distributed to the 13 eligible South Dakota institutions. Commitments from First PREMIER Bank / PREMIER Bankcard, Sanford Health, Avera Health and the State of South Dakota led by Gov. Kristi Noem '11 spurred the scholarship fund's creation in 2021.

Student must:

  • Maintain South Dakota residency for at least one year prior to scholarship application
  • Work toward a baccalaureate degree
  • Establish an unmet financial need, as determined by the federal Department of Education through the annual submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This calculation is based upon the federal cost of attendance calculation minus expected family contribution (EFC), minus financial aid awarded (excluding student loans).
  • Maintain 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Graduate from an eligible institution within five years
  • Commit to living and working in South Dakota for a period of three years after graduation, military service or graduate education if applicable
  • Agree that failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall result in the scholarship being converted to an interest-bearing student loan.

Students are encouraged to apply by May 15, 2022.

For the 2022-23 academic year, amounts vary and funds are limited; scholarships start at $2,000 per year.

If you have questions regarding the Freedom Scholarship, please contact the Financial Assistance Office at or stop by the office.