About The Scholarship

The South Dakota Freedom Scholarship is South Dakota’s first public / private partnership for a 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. With gifts and commitments now totaling $175M, the Freedom Scholarship Endowment is the state’s largest financial need-based scholarship, with a goal of at least $200M. $5.1M is to be allocated for the 2022-2023 pilot year. Managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation, this funding is in an endowment that will continue to provide scholarships in perpetuity.

**Updates to Freedom Scholarship details, including the terms should a scholarship turn to a loan, will be available June 1, 2022!**

Our Purpose

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. Visit our Funding page to learn more about our donors, their contributions and how you can support the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship.

Participating Schools

Students attending the following South Dakota schools are eligible to apply for Freedom Scholarship funds in 2022:


Our Founders

In 2021, Governor Noem announced the five founding board members of the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship: Dana Dykhouse, Miles Beacom, Phyllis Heineman, Diana Vanderwoude and Chris Houwman. Chaired by Dykhouse, this committee is spearheading all efforts to establish the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year.

With management from the South Dakota Community Foundation, the board will continue to oversee the scholarship fund past the pilot year — providing scholarships in perpetuity, with the goal of growing to at least $200 million.