BHSU and other South Dakota students will benefit from new $50 Million PREMIER Scholarship

A recently established fund for the Premier Scholarship will create opportunities for Black Hills State University students as well as those at the seven other South Dakota universities.

The scholarship, the state’s first need-based scholarship fund, was created with a $50 million endowment gift from Denny Sanford and First PREMIER Bank, PREMIER Bankcard. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has asked the Legislature to match the donation.

“We are so grateful for this scholarship fund,” BHSU President Dr. Laurie S. Nichols said. “Future Black Hills State University students, and students from across the state, will benefit greatly with this new needs-based scholarship. The commitment to working in South Dakota will strengthen the regional workforce development.” She noted that South Dakota is the only state without a financial needs based scholarship program.

Scholarship qualifications will be developed with a formula that includes the cost of attendance, family income and financial need. The first scholarships will be awarded in the Fall of 2022. Students are required to work in South Dakota for three years after graduation in any field or the scholarship becomes a loan. The scholarship encourages graduates to join the South Dakota workforce while providing much needed funding options for students with financial need, Nichols said.

In addition to BHSU, the scholarship will be available at the other five state universities – Dakota State University, Northern University, South Dakota State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the University of South Dakota as well as the University of Sioux Falls and Augustana University.

To see details about other BHSU scholarships see