Financial aid is an important part of helping you reach your educational goals. We will work with you to find the best individualized way to pay for your education. We have trained financial aid personnel who have years of experience in student financial aid to help you with any questions you have about grants, work-study, or loans.


Students should complete the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using 2022 tax information at the Federal Student Aid website. BHSU’s school code is 003459. The student and a parent (if applicable) will need an FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically. You can create an FSA ID at the Federal Student Aid website before completing the FAFSA. Please contact the Student Financial Aid Office at or (605)642-6145 with any questions.

Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling Needed

If you are a new Direct Loan borrower, please go to Federal Student Aid to complete the MPN and Loan Entrance Counseling for the Direct Loans. You will use your FSA ID to get into the site and you will use it again for your electronic signature. If you have any questions, please contact the Student Financial Aid Office at (605)642-6145.

Financial Aid Award Information


Award Handbook

Financial Aid Award Information

Funding your education is critical to achieving your goals in life. The Student Financial Services Office at BHSU is here to help you (and your parents) design an overall plan to pay for your education. We are a resource to help you negotiate the many rules, deadlines, and requirements placed on student aid funds. The financial aid programs at Black Hills State University have been established by the alumni and friends of the school, federal and state governments, and the University.

The aid that is available can be divided into three categories: gift aid, employment, or loans. Gift aid consists of scholarships and grants. Employment is provided through federal or college-supported job opportunities. Loans are federally or privately funded and made available through Black Hills State, the federal government, and participating lenders. You must accept or reject the award or any portion of the award offered to you on the award letter. In addition, complete other requested information as directed then sign, date, and return all documents to BHSU's Student Financial Services Office/or complete the online accept/reject through MyBHSU. This also applies to any revised award letter sent to you. Your accepted financial aid in the form of gift assistance and loans will be available to apply toward your institutional charges and other costs of education. With your acceptance, any aid able to be disbursed directly to your University student account will be applied to your account prior to fee payment each semester.

*Changes in current federal or state laws, funding levels, and regulations or in institutional policy may revise this information.

General Information/Eligibility

You have been offered the award(s) found on your financial aid award letter because you have met, or will meet, the following criteria:

  • Have financial need (except for some loan programs and some scholarships)
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate
  • Have been admitted and enrolled at BHSU as a regular student in an eligible degree-granting program
  • Academically eligible as a continuing student
  • Making satisfactory academic progress, in accordance with the BHSU Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (enclosed)
  • Plan to enroll (and subsequently attend classes) in at least six credit hours each semester for which you have been awarded as an undergraduate student. (Some exceptions for the Federal Pell Grant - See Federal Pell Grant under Gift Assistance). You have been awarded based on full-time status.
  • Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 4.5 credit hours per semester to qualify for Stafford Loans.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Not in default on any Federal education loans, or owe a repayment on any Federal education grant
  • Be registered for Selective Service, if required.

Your award is based on attendance in regular, semester, on-campus classes, Rapid City classes, or internet classes. Correspondence classes have additional restrictions; see the section on correspondence courses. You do not have to be enrolled as a full-time student to qualify for financial aid. However, some Federal Aid Programs also have additional restrictions for students enrolled less than full-time. If it becomes necessary for you to withdraw from the University, it is imperative that you follow the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. Further information is available in our office.

Gift Assistance

Outside Gift Aid
If you expect to receive a scholarship or grant assistance not included on your award letter, you must report it either on your award letter or call the Student Financial Services Office with the information. This allows us to properly apply estimated credit toward your University student account until the granting agency or donor payment is received. Most scholarships or gift aid expect you to be full-time to receive the award. Also, an adjustment may need to be made to your financial aid to avoid an over-award in accordance with federal regulations.

Institutional Scholarships, Awards, and Grants
All BHSU gifts are credited to the student’s account prior to fee payment each semester upon you being full-time. To allow for any institutional gift aid to be applied to your account you must accept, sign, and return your award letter. Institutional gift assistance may be canceled by the awarding department if you fail to meet the eligibility requirements and if so, you will need to make payment of any financial obligation created by the reduction in aid. The BHSU Scholarship Listing and General Application are available on our website at the BHSU Scholarship page; note the priority date.

Federal Pell Grant
The amount shown on your award letter is an estimate of your Federal Pell Grant. Eligible students are paid this award through Black Hills State University; the U.S. Department of Education determines your eligibility and provides the funding. Disbursement of a Federal Pell Grant is credited to the student’s account. (Students with less than six credits per semester may still be eligible upon being in a degree-or certificate-granting program.) Pell Grants are available to first-time undergraduates, find more at Pell Eligibility. Pell Grant has a lifetime eligibility of 12 semesters full-time.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Provided by the Federal Government for distribution by BHSU if you have exceptional financial need (determined by a low expected family contribution) while allocated funds are available. When awarded FSEOG and accepted through your signed award letter, it will be credited to your student account. SEOG grants are available for first-time undergraduates, pro-rated based on enrollment, but not for less-than-half-time students.

South Dakota Education Assistance Foundation (SDEAF)
The award amount shown on your award letter is an estimate of your SDEAF Grant. This grant is given to students who have need (determined by the expected family contribution and listed in the grant proposal) and must be full-time, first-time undergraduates; allocated while funds are available.

South Dakota Need-Based Grant Program (SDNBGP)
The award amount shown on your award letter is an estimate of your SD Need-Based Grant. This grant is given to students who are SD residents who have a financial need (determined by the expected family contribution) and must be full-time, first-time undergraduates; allocated while funds are available.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program was established to benefit current and prospective teachers. Award amount up to $4,000 per academic year (minus sequestration amount), with aggregate amounts of $16,000 for students on their first undergraduate degree, and up to another $8,000 for graduate students. The award, when combined with other aid, cannot exceed the cost of attendance and the student must have at least a 3.25 GPA for each payment period unless qualified under other criteria, along with other requirements such as an Agreement To Serve/promise to pay (ATS). For further requirements, refer to the Federal Student Aid website.

Work Assistance

Federal Work-Study (FWS) – A federally-funded employment program matched by institutional, agency, and private organization funding. The amount of your FWS award is the amount you are eligible to earn during the academic year. The wage rate will start at $9.45 per hour (amounts can vary based on qualifications); you can work approximately 10-12 hours per week. Positions are available in most departments on campus, as well as some off-campus locations. If awarded Federal Work-Study and you accept it on your award letter:

  • You will receive your federal work-study authorization via email. A work-study job listing (Handshake or the BHSU Work Study page) will be available on the BHSU website.
  • Review the student information on the federal work-study authorization form carefully.
  • Contact the supervisor of the position(s) you are interested in for an application and interview. Departments may begin interviewing for their open positions as soon as students receive the federal work-study authorization. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for the positions in which you’re interested!
  • After being hired, forward the federal work-study authorization to your supervisor and go to the Human Resources office in Woodburn Hall room 201 to complete payroll paperwork.

Each pay cycle runs from the 22nd of the month through the 21st of the following month. Hours worked are reported electronically on SNAP. Your earnings are paid on the last working day of the month. As an employee of BHSU through Federal Work-Study, you are expected to maintain professional work standards in your position to continue employment under the program.

Off-Campus Employment
Students are assisted in locating part-time off-campus positions during the school year and over the summer by campus personnel. This service attempts to match your abilities, interests, and schedules with employers’ needs. All part-time and full-time students may use these services by contacting the Retention & Recruitment Specialist for your major.


Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
Your maximum Federal Direct Loan and /or Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan Eligibility has been determined by the Financial Aid Office as the maximum eligibility for your grade level listed on the FAFSA. Maximum loan amounts are:

  • Freshmen - $3500 (Subsidized or Unsubsidized based on need) + $2000 Unsubsidized
  • Sophomores (30 credit hours) - $4500* (Subsidized or Unsubsidized based on need) + $2000 Unsubsidized
  • Juniors (60 credit hours) and seniors - $5500 (Subsidized or Unsubsidized based on need) + $2000 Unsubsidized

*If you are in an associate degree program, your loan maximum may not exceed the sophomore loan maximum regardless of the number of credit hours you have completed.

Interest rate is based on the T-bill each July 1. A fixed 4.53% rate will begin July 1, 2019 for the 19-20 year for undergraduate Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans. Also, each grade level can receive an additional $2000 Unsubsidized Loan. You may choose to borrow less than your maximum awarded loan amount; if so, write in the lesser amount on your award letter. For determining annual loan limits, BHSU’s scheduled academic year runs from the summer semester to the following spring semester.

Subsidized – financial need-based loans made available to you by the federal government. Interest is subsidized (paid) while you are in school at least half-time, by the U.S. Government; up to 1.2% fee will be assessed.

Unsubsidized - not based on financial need (though you must apply for need-based aid first) and you must pay the interest while you are in school or request a deferment of interest and allow it to capitalize on the principal during in-school and grace periods; up to 1.2% fee will be assessed.

If you are considered an independent student for Federal Financial Aid, you may have been awarded up to the maximum your estimated educational budget allows through the Independent Extended Unsubsidized maximum limits. This allows an independent student to borrow up to an additional $4000 in Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan:

  • Freshman – total of $9,500
  • Sophomore - total of $10,500
  • Junior or Senior to borrow up to an additional $5,000 for a total of $12,500

Due to this high amount of potential annual indebtedness with the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan availability, be sure to borrow only what you absolutely will need to cover your direct and indirect costs. You may want to refer to the Direct Consolidation Loan Application on the Federal Student Aid website, Borrower Services, and Online Calculator to review possible repayment amounts. Remember, the interest is not paid by the government for the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan while you are in school.

BHSU undergraduate students’ average indebtedness last year was $28,087 which in part is the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan where the interest has not been paid prior, which could be approximately $300/month repayments.

If you want to apply for a Federal Direct Loan, you should review and complete all loan information found in the award notice email, and accept the amount you want to borrow totaling both subsidized and unsubsidized loans on Web Advisor. If you only wish a part of the loans, follow instructions within Banner Self-Service on how to contact Student Financial Services through email. You will need to complete a promissory note for your Federal Direct Loan(s) electronically if you are borrowing a Direct Loan for the first time. First-time borrowers at BHSU, or if prior Direct federal loans are paid in full, are required to complete an Entrance Counseling session (see sections “Helpful Hints About Your Direct Loan” and “Entrance Loan Counseling”).

Graduate students must be at least half-time per semester (4.5 credit hours) in order to qualify for Direct Loans. Maximum amounts vary based on the student’s budget, other aid, and expected family contribution. Possible loan to borrow is Unsubsidized Direct Loan of $20,500. All Graduate Direct loans are Unsubsidized and have a fixed rate of 6.08% for the 19-20 academic year. Interest rate will change every July 1.

Also: First-time borrowers at BHSU, or if prior Direct federal loans are paid in full, are required to complete an Entrance Counseling session (see sections “Helpful Hints About Your Direct Loan” and “Entrance Loan Counseling”).

Please refer to the Federal Direct Loan for all rights and responsibilities. A listing of loans borrowed can be found at the National Student Loan Data System.

Helpful Hints About Your Federal Direct Loan

Net Disbursement Amount – All Federal Student Direct Loan Disbursements have required fees. Federal regulation requires up to 1.2% fee.

Interest – The Federal Undergraduate Direct Loans have a fixed interest rate for the 19-20 year of 4.53% for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans. All Graduate Direct Loans are Unsubsidized and have a fixed rate of 6.08%. Interest rates will change on July 1 each year, according to T-bill + add-on determined by the federal government.

Initial Borrowers – All first-time first-year borrowers attending BHSU, or with prior Direct federal loans paid in full, must complete a loan counseling session before you may receive your loan disbursement. This can be done online at the Federal Student Aid website (See “Entrance Loan Counseling” below.)

Parent Loan For Undergraduate Students (PLUS) – If you are a dependent student, your parents may borrow a PLUS loan through the Direct Loan Program. PLUS is a non-need-based loan. The loan maximum is figured individually, based on your total cost of education minus any financial aid eligibility. Interest rate for the 19-20 year is fixed at 7.08%; up to 4.5% fee. Repayment begins 60 days after disbursement. Interest rates will change each July 1. Call the BHSU Student Financial Services Office at 1.800.255.2478 for information. Parents may apply for the PLUS loan at the BHSU Loans and Grants page Direct PLUS Loans. The student must fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for the PLUS loan.

Alternative Loans
There are many alternative educational loan programs that exist for students. A partial listing of programs and lenders is available from the BHSU Student Financial Services Office at 1.800.255.BHSU or go to Outside Resources; a comparison chart is available. Those that we list offer certain benefits to you as a student borrower through the same lender as your Federal Direct Loan. Some of the loans are available for students who are less than half-time.

Financial Aid Disbursement Requirements

Correspondence Course(s)
These courses will be calculated and/or disbursed differently from the other coursework. Please refer to Correspondence Course(s).

Financial Aid Educational Budget
An estimated educational budget for a student includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal/miscellaneous, and transportation costs. We set up the original award for a student based upon: the average of 15 credit hours per semester, double room, basic board plan if on campus, a reasonable estimated cost of room and board if living off-campus or with parents, and estimated books and supplies, personal, and transportation costs. Budgets vary based on living arrangements, the residency status of students, enrolled courses, and other variables.

Estimated Family Contribution
The family contribution calculated is an estimate of the family’s ability to contribute toward education expenses. For dependent students, this may include a contribution from the parents as well as the student. The contribution shown is based on 2019 income and assets, with the assumption that 2021 figures will be similar. Therefore, the expected contribution is the amount the family/student is expected to contribute over the nine-month academic year. If the family is unable to meet the estimated family contribution (from current income and savings) and cover the expected university cost with aid that has been awarded, an alternative may need to be investigated.

Reminder: Is there any outside funding not included in the award letter? If so, you must inform the Student Financial Services Office of any resource outside of the family which may reduce the calculated unmet need and therefore reduce your out-of-pocket costs or reduce awarded work or loan.

Changes That May Require Revisions To Financial Aid Awards
Reasons for reduction, cancellation, or even repayment of previously disbursed aid may include, but are not limited to, the following: a change in residency status; change in living arrangements; award changes due to verification and/or as a result of updated information; receiving aid not previously shown on your award letter; drop in credit hours; did not start attending classes; or any other reason unknown to our office at the time of disbursement. Reduction or cancellation of aid is done in the following order: loans, work-study, and then grants. Unless you are a National Science Scholars Program scholarship recipient, the Pell Grant is not reduced or canceled. Failure to notify our office of information that could affect your aid awards may jeopardize the continuation of eligibility or necessitate repayment of previously disbursed aid. In some cases, we may even have to report you to the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General, and to local law enforcement agencies, for appropriate action.

Awarded Aid and Not Enrolled or Drop Below Half-time
If you are awarded aid for the full academic year (fall & spring semesters) and you do not attend classes for the fall semester, your aid for both the fall and spring semesters will be canceled. You will not be notified of this cancellation. If you do not enroll for the fall semester, but you plan to attend Black Hills State during the spring semester, it is imperative that you notify our office of your planned enrollment in writing immediately. If you drop below 1/2-time in the fall semester, your loans will be canceled for the spring.

Please refer to the BHSU Pay for College page for the most recent information, or contact the cashier/Student Accounts office.

Payment Of Charges
If you have pre-registered for the fall or spring semester, your billing information will be available to you online approximately one month prior to the start of each term. Your electronic bill (eBill) is accessible through MyBHSU by clicking on SDePay.

Payment for tuition & fees and on-campus room & board (if applicable) is due the next business day after census each term and may be done electronically through SDePay. Paper checks will still be accepted at the Cashier's windows or through the mail, but credit card payments may only be done electronically. The monthly Payment Plan can be found here, or call 605.642.6480. In addition to making payment, Attendance Confirmation must be completed each term to confirm you will be attending the classes.

Our vendor accepts MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and VISA. They do assess a 2.75% service charge for credit card payments but offer an eCheck option at no additional cost. If your financial aid has not been applied to your bill by the due date, completing a Deferred Payment Agreement will prevent your classes from being canceled. Contact a Financial Aid Representative for information on Deferments.

If your financial aid is not sufficient to cover your entire balance, the difference must be paid by the due date to avoid class cancellation or late charges. Questions regarding financial aid or payment will be answered in the Student Financial Services Office. Late payment charges are assessed according to South Dakota Board of Regents Policy .

For Financial Aid questions, please call 605.642.6145 or email For Cashier or Payment questions, please call 605.642.6531 or email

Refund and Repayment Policy
Students who withdraw from college may be entitled to a partial refund of tuition and other fees. Refunds to students who received financial aid will be applied to the financial aid program(s) from which the students received assistance. In addition to this, students who receive cash disbursements of Title IV funds (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, TEACH Grant), and subsequently withdraw before the end of the semester, may be required to repay a percentage of the funds disbursed. See the University Catalog and Website for the withdrawal procedure and for the refund and repayment schedules.

NSLDS Website

Most federal grants and loans are reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which the student (or parent for a parent PLUS) can review using their federal student aid ID (FSA ID), National Student Loan Data System. This will give the student the most recent information (when updated by holders of loans and schools) with contact names and phone numbers, and some addresses should there be questions.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FASAP) Policy

In order to receive Federal Student Aid, the U.S. Department of Education requires that students maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their degree. Federal Student Aid includes Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), and Federal PLUS Loan. Also, other Federal Agencies may require students to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for their aid programs. The academic record of all students will be monitored to ensure compliance with the requirements specified below. Therefore, even the academic record of those who have not received Federal Student Aid in the past may impact future eligibility. Failure to meet the following standards will result in financial aid suspension of eligibility for Federal Student Aid.

The academic record of all students will be monitored to ensure compliance with the requirements specified below. Therefore, even the academic record of those who have not received federal student aid in the past may impact future eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured once a year, both qualitative and quantitative – at the end of the spring semester, or the last semester attended in that academic year. All terms of enrollment are included in the evaluation – summer term, fall semester, and spring semester.

Qualitative Measurement
An undergraduate student must meet minimum academic progression standards as established by the South Dakota Board of Regents. These standards are based on the student’s cumulative grade point average and system term grade point average. The system term grade point average is based on credits earned from the six Board of Regents universities during a given term. The cumulative grade point average includes all credits earned (transfer plus system credit). All remedial and audited coursework is excluded from this calculation.

Failure to meet any of the three following standards will result in the suspension of eligibility for federal student aid.

  • Minimum cumulative grade point average - Qualitative Measurement    
    • Undergraduate Students:
      Federal regulations require a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for undergraduate students. The cumulative GPA is calculated on all BHSU and transfer undergraduate credits (excluding remedial and audited coursework).
    • Graduate Students:
      Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all BHSU and transfer graduate credits.
  • Completion percentage - Quantitative Measurement
    All students (both undergraduate and graduate) must successfully complete 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours. Attempted credit hours include all hours that would appear on a student’s academic transcript at the end of any given term, including withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, remedial coursework, and transfer hours. Audited coursework is not included. Hours that may have been part of a successful academic amnesty appeal will still be included.

    Successfully completed hours for both graduate and undergraduate students include grades of A, B, C, D, RS, and S. A grade of EX for undergraduate students is also considered successful completion. All other grades would not be considered successful completion (such as F (failure), W (withdrawal), U (unsatisfactory), RU (remedial unsatisfactory), or I or IP (incomplete).
  • Maximum attempted credit hours - Quantitative Measurement
    There is a limit on the number of credit hours a student can attempt and still remain eligible for federal student aid. All credits attempted (except audited coursework) are included. This limit is based on 150% of the credit hours needed to complete the degree that the student is pursuing.
    Type of Degree Attempted Maximum Credit Hours
    Associate Degree (60-hour program) 90
    Bachelor’s Degree (120-hour program) 180
    Bachelor’s Degree (128-hour program) 192
    Bachelor’s Degree (150-hour program) 225
    Master’s Degree (35-hour program) 53

Additional information that may impact satisfactory academic progress

Grade Changes: If the grade change occurs after the annual Satisfactory Academic Progress review has been done, the grade change will be reflected in the next review unless the student notifies the BHSU Student Financial Services Office of the grade change and it changes the student’s status from suspended to good standing. Since incomplete grades are counted as unsatisfactory attempts, the potential impact would be an increase in grade point average and/or an increase in percentage completion.

Repeated Courses: Students will be allowed a total of three takes for undergraduate courses (course number 001-499) for which credit is only counted toward graduation once. The student must petition the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs for permission to take an undergraduate course more than three times. When a student repeats a course, only the latter grade, even if it is a lower grade, is used in the computation of the grade point average. If the last grade is a failing grade earlier credit will be lost as well. All grades remain on the transcript. All attempts will count toward percentage completion and maximum credit hours for financial aid and satisfactory academic progress.

Remedial Courses: All credits, whether remedial or non-remedial are assigned a credit value. Remedial coursework is included when determining enrollment status for financial aid purposes, but is not included toward graduation requirements or grade level progression. Grades of RS or RU are assigned to remedial coursework. All remedial coursework is included in the financial aid satisfactory academic progress calculation for percentage completion and maximum credit hours.

Withdrawn and Incomplete Courses: Courses that a student drops after the term census date will appear on the transcript with a grade of “W”, "I" or "IP" whether the student was passing or failing the class at the time of withdrawal, or has an incomplete. These credits are not used when calculating the grade point average but do count as credits attempted but not satisfactorily completed and impact the percentage completion and maximum credit hours.

Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension
Note that an academic suspension appeal is a separate process. Students who have also been academically suspended must be academically reinstated prior to submitting a financial aid appeal. Being reinstated academically does not guarantee financial aid reinstatement.

Students are notified in writing when placed on financial aid suspension. Students may submit a written appeal to explain extenuating circumstances as to why they were unable to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Appeals must be submitted no later than the mid-point of the term for which it applies. An appeal form is available at the BHSU Student Financial Services Office or at FA Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal.

Students who have lost their Federal Aid eligibility, but have subsequently met the qualitative and/or quantitative standards as stated above, will have their aid eligibility reinstated. Reinstatement will be considered effective with the next term of attendance. 

Non-Federal Aid
There are also non-federal sources of financial assistance (institutional, local, private, state), which may require students to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Students who apply for non-federal forms of aid are advised to review their academic standards in order to determine or ensure continued eligibility. 

Contact Info

Student Financial Aid Office
Woodburn 114 Map
Phone: 605.642.6145

Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9670
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9670

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