Scholarships at BHSU

The Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship (15 awards at $10,000 each)

The Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship provides a $10000 scholarship to be disbursed throughout a student’s collegiate career. Like all Horatio Alger Scholarships, the Horatio Alger Denny Sanford scholarship assists high school students who have faced great obstacles in their young lives to overcome their adversities, attend a post-secondary institution, and achieve success.

To be eligible for the Horatio Alger Denny Sanford Scholarship a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be committed to complete a bachelor’s degree at Black Hills State University
  • Be a current high school senior with plans to enroll in college Fall 2020
  • Demonstrate critical financial need ($55,000 or less family income required)
  • Be involved in community service activities
  • Display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity
  • Maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Application available August 1st - October 25th and January 15th - March 15th 

Students may apply here!

Humbert Hall Room Scholarship
The Humbert Hall Room Scholarship is awarded on the basis of a student’s academic accomplishments and/or financial need.
Humbert Hall Room Scholarships provide students with one-half the cost of their residence hall room in Humbert Hall for up to two years.

Limited number available per academic year. Students should submit the General Scholarship Application to be considered. Students who are selected for these awards will notified by the BHSU Office of Admissions.

 Joseph F. and Martha P. Nelson Scholarship Application
The Joseph F. and Martha P. Nelson Scholarship award is available to a high school senior/graduate who has not previously attended a post- secondary institution. The scholarship is worth $40,000 over four years. It is renewable without reapplying, provided the student maintains required academic performance. See More

 See these additional scholarship opportunities available through the Center for American Indian Studies.

Select Scholarship Search Criteria

Location of Scholarship:
Anticipated Academic Level:
Current or Anticipated Enrollment:
Estimated GPA:
Financial Need:

Financial aid and scholarships are a crucial part of making your educational dreams a reality. BHSU offers a variety of scholarships to help you reach your educational goals.

BUZZ BONUS Scholarship

Apply for admission today! Awarded based on your application for admission - no separate application required. The BUZZ Bonus is guaranteed to eligible students while funds are still available.

This award is available to a high school graduate who has not previously attended a post-secondary institution. Application is made during the senior year of high school. To be eligible, a student must attain a minimum ACT composite score of 21, be in the upper 33% of his/her class rank, and must have been admitted to Black Hills State University. Home-schooled students, in lieu of class rank, must attain a 3.0 GPA along with the minimum ACT composite score of 21, as well as be admitted to Black Hills State University to be awarded the Buzz Bonus. The amount of the award is determined by the students ACT score according to the chart below.

  • ACT Score Scholarship Amount
    • 27 or higher -- $1,000.00
    • 25-26 -- $750.00
    • 21-24 -- $500.00

This scholarship will be renewed for three years if the student maintains a 3.0 cumulative GPA and takes 30 credit hours per academic year.*

These scholarships are awarded upon admission to BHSU. If your ACT score or class rank improves please contact the Admissions Office to request a reevaluation.

BHSU Foundation scholarships are for BHSU classes only. Recipients of BHSU scholarships are advised to contact the Scholarship Coordinator if they are anticipating taking classes at one of the other South Dakota public universities.

Questions? Please call the Admission's Office at 642-6343, or email

* The four-year BUZZ Bonus awards began with the 2008-2009 academic year. Prior to that they were two-year awards.

BUZZ Bonus Donors:

Our BUZZ Bonus program is sponsored by the following endowments in the Black Hills State University Foundation.

  • Clarkson Achievement
  • Boesen, Marc Scholarship
  • Chamison, Goldie Memorial
  • Confer, Kathryn Memorial
  • DeYoung Memorial
  • Donahue, Regina Memorial
  • Hause, Gil and Trudy
  • Leedom, Irene Memorial
  • Lynn, Gay Scholarship
  • Mann, Dick
  • Mullin, Audrey Scholarship
  • Nelson, Betty Jean Scholarship
  • Radcliff, Agnes
  • Rolando-Zucco, Peter & Ruth
  • Vucurevich, John T.

Learn more about donating to the Foundation.

Outside Scholarships

Donors will give Black Hills State University their information on scholarships. They can be found within the searchable database above.  Be as general as possible when searching the database as some of these scholarships, such as the American Business Women Association (ABWA), will give to any major. Choose ANY for majors and always choose OUTSIDE SCHOLARSHIP for these donors from outside BHSU. 

Good luck, and if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact Student Financial Services, (605) 642-6415.

South Dakota Board of Regents Scholarships

  • Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship
  • Annis Irene Fowler/Kaden Scholarship
  • Marline R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship

 Dakota Corps Scholarship 

  • Each recipient promises to enter a critical need occupation in South Dakota following completion of the program of study.  The number of years a recipient must work in a critical need occupation to fulfill the entire obligation is equal to the sum of the number of years of scholarship received, plus one year.  For example, a four-year scholarship recipient must work five years; a three-year scholarship recipient must work four years; a two-year scholarship recipient must work three years, etc. 

  • Critical need occupations in SD include: Teachers of High School Math and Science, Elementary or Secondary Special Education Teachers, Accountant/Auditor, Engineer (includes all fields EXCEPT mining), Information Technology, Registered Nurse.

Jump Start Award

  • The Jump Start Scholarship program is designed to provide a student who graduates from a public high school in three years or less to receive a scholarship funded with a portion of the money saved by the state in state aid to education funding pursuant to chapter 13-13.  As a result of the student's early graduation, if the student enrolls at any college, university, or technical school accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota, for the 2019-20 academic year the student will be eligible for $1,500.00 to be distributed equally across both the Fall and Spring semesters during their first year of post-secondary enrollment.

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship

  • The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship provides $6,500 over four years to a qualifying student who attends an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota.  Recipients may participate in the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship program for the equivalent of four academic years (eight consecutive fall and spring terms), or until attaining a baccalaureate degree.  During each academic year, one-half of the annual scholarship award will be distributed at the beginning of the fall semester and the other half distributed at the beginning of the spring semester:
     1st year of attendance
     2nd year of attendance
     3rd year of attendance
     4th year of attendance

 Free Searchable Scholarship Websites

Outside Scholarships

If you are receiving an outside scholarship/grant/award, you must report those to BHSU Student Financial Services.  Please complete this form for each additional scholarship/award and mail to address below. If you wish us to email a form to you, please email Angie Faulkner.

 or call (605) 642-6829.
Student Financial Services
Attn: Angie Faulkner
1200 University St; Unit 9670
Spearfish, SD  57799-9670 

Basic Requirements | Important Dates and Deadlines | Types of Scholarships | Credit Hour Requirements | Concurrent Enrollment | Appeals and Special Circumstances | Award and Status Information | Other Questions


Basic Requirements

What are the requirements to receive a scholarship?
The requirements vary for all scholarships. Most are academic and/or need based.
Visit our website at and use the searchable database for descriptions. 

Do I need to be admitted to apply for scholarships?
No. However, for priority consideration we strongly encourage you to have completed the application process. 

How do I apply for scholarships?
To access the application go to and choose the New Student Scholarship Application or the Current BHSU Student Scholarship Application


Important Dates and Deadlines

When are the deadlines to apply for BHSU scholarships?
December 21st is the priority deadline for new and transfer students.
February 1st is the priority deadline for continuing students.
Any application submitted after these dates may be placed on a waiting list. Please note that scholarships are awarded a year in advance, so be sure to apply early.


Types of Scholarships

What types of scholarships do you offer?
There are several types of scholarships offered at BHSU. Click here to view BHSU scholarships and use the searchable database for names and descriptions.

Can I receive outside scholarships along with a scholarship from BHSU?
Yes, you may receive outside scholarships. However, if you are applying for Federal Aid, scholarships will be counted as a resource.

What scholarships do you have available for Non-Residents?
Buzz Bonus scholarships are available for new students only. Other scholarships available are outside scholarships, and Privately Funded. For more information on tuition and fees, click here.

What outside scholarships are available?
Please visit our Outside Scholarships page for more information.  DISCLAIMER: BHSU does not affiliate with or endorse any third-party scholarship website. Please exercise caution when pursuing any outside scholarships. Be careful what information you supply to websites. When in doubt, don't supply any personal information.

Are there scholarships available for graduate students?
Generally, graduate students who have previously earned a bachelor's degree are NOT eligible to apply for BHSU scholarships, however there may be some outside scholarship resources available. is also a resource available for outside scholarship searches (go to 'More Info & Resources' -> 'Scholarship Search'). DISCLAIMER: BHSU does not affiliate with or endorse any third-party scholarship website. Please exercise caution when pursuing any outside scholarships. Be careful what information you supply to websites. When in doubt, don't supply any personal information. 

Do you have scholarships available for students with disabilities?
You will need to contact the Disabilities Services Center on campus for more information. The Disabilities Services Center may have private money or information on applying for off-campus scholarships.

Credit Hour Requirements

Do I have to be attending full-time to apply for scholarships?
No, you can apply without being full-time. However, if you are awarded a scholarship, you will need to attend full-time (minimum 12 credit hours).

Do you have any scholarships for part-time students?
No, but there may be a few Privately Funded Scholarships.

How many credit hours am I required to take?
12 BHSU credit hours is the minimum. Some scholarships require more.

It is my last semester and I don’t have 12 credit hours to take. Can I still receive my scholarship?
All special circumstances should be directed in writing to the Scholarship Coordinator, Kanda Guthmiller at

Concurrent Enrollment

If I have taken concurrent (dual) enrollment classes in high school, will I be considered a continuing student?
If you have not graduated from high school, you will be considered a new student for scholarship purposes.

If I am taking concurrent (dual) enrollment through BHSU, do I still need to be admitted?
Yes, you will need to apply as a degree-seeking student by using the application found at: Please provide all necessary supporting documents.

Appeals and Special Circumstances

Is there a probation period for scholarships?
No, if you fail to complete the requirements at the end of the semester, your scholarship will be canceled.

If I withdraw from my classes will I have to pay back the scholarship?
If you withdraw during the 100% refund period, the scholarship will be taken back and you will not have to repay it. If you withdraw after the 100% refund period, you may have to pay a portion of the scholarship back or any refund you may get would go back to the scholarship account. 

Award and Status Information

Did you receive my scholarship application?
You should receive an email confirmation if your application was successfully submitted.

How can I tell if I have been awarded a scholarship?
You should receive an email or a letter if you are awarded.

Can I accept my scholarship online?
Yes. New students can accept their scholarships online by clicking here and filling out the form.
Returning students need to follow the directions from their college.

How much can I receive from a scholarship?
The amount can vary anywhere from partial to full tuition, unless otherwise indicated. If a student is offered more than one award, it may be necessary to indicate a preference. Combined award amounts may not exceed actual cost of attendance.

Other Questions?

Contact Kanda Guthmiller, Scholarship Coordinator at 605-642-6335 (Fax: 605-642-6913), Woodburn Hall Room 114.


Thank-You Letter Guidelines and Tips

Thank you letters are a mandatory condition of accepting most scholarships at BHSU. A thank-you letter should be sincere, expressing appreciation without excessive flattery. The tone should be pleasant. Donors appreciate receiving a thank-you letter. Your thank-you letter assists in persuading a donor to renew their contribution to a scholarship.

As a guide to help you write your thank-you letter, we have provided you with some tips on what to include in your letter. While we would like you to follow these guidelines, they are not restrictions on how to write your letter. 

Things to be included in your letter

  • Educational Background (your year in school and major) 
  • Accomplishments/Achievements
  • Obstacles you have overcome to attend college 
  • Extracurricular Activities including stories about a relevant extracurricular or community service project that impacted your life 
  • Goals and Aspirations (your future plans-both immediate and long term; include career you wish to pursue) 
  • Mention your appreciation for the scholarship that you received, and your plans for utilizing the funds. ("Thank you for making this scholarship possible" or "Your scholarship makes it possible for me to concentrate more fully on my courses.")
  • Remember that the donor did not select you as the recipient, but provided the funds for the scholarship, i.e. "Thanks for making the Oak Hills Rotary Scholarship possible......" 

Tips on writing your letter 

  • Address your letter to: (Donor contact name, given to you by the Office of Admissions or Department/College ) 
  • Your thank you letter can be handwritten or typed. Either is acceptable, however if handwritten it must be neat and legible.
  • The use of a thank you card, personal stationary or plain stationary is acceptable. 
  • Be concise in your letter, but sincere. 
  • State what the thank-you is for by using the full and correct scholarship name and donor contact name provided in your award letter. 
  • Make sure that you sign your letter. 
  • Make sure that, upon final inspection, your letter has a neat appearance.
  • Check all spelling and grammar after you have completed your letter.  
  • Make a copy of your thank you letter and forward to

Kanda Guthmiller, Scholarship Coordinator, 1200 University St. Unit 9506, Spearfish, SD 57799

Or drop it off at the Joy Center

Sample Letter

Sam Edwards

C/O BHSU Scholarships

1200 University Unit 9670 

Spearfish, SD 57799-9670

Dear Mr. Edwards:

As a recipient of the Edwards Family Scholarship, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support of BHSU and its students. It means a lot to students such as myself that you believe in our efforts to reach our higher educational goals. 

I am a junior in the College of Business and Natural Sciences pursuing a degree in accounting. During my free time, I volunteer with the VISTA program helping prepare tax returns for low-income residents of the Northern Hills. I also like to volunteer at the Humane Society and with Special Olympics. This year I became a member of the BHSU Presidential Ambassadors where I represent the university at functions such as the 1883 dinner and orientation for new students. 

My future goals involve studying for and passing my CPA exams and then seeking a career in an established accounting firm.  In two years I plan to graduate with the university honor of summa cum laude. When I complete my degree at BHSU, I feel more than competent to complete my career goals and future endeavors. 

The Edwards Family Scholarship has helped me tremendously focus more on my education rather than seeking full time employment to pay for my school. 

Once again thank you for your generous gift to BHSU and its students. Your support will go a long way in achieving my educational and career goals.


(Student Signature)

Taylor Jackson

1200 University Unit 8000

Spearfish, SD 57799-8000




Continuing Eligibility Requirements for SD Board of Regents Scholarships

South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship (4 year award)

Dakota Corps Scholarship

*See SDBOR website.  

Continuing Eligibility Requirements for Renewable BHSU Scholarships

Buzz Bonus (4 year award)

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

University Advancement Scholarship (4 year award)

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours 

Residence Hall Half Room Scholarship (2 year award)

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credits after 2 semesters

Jeb Clarkson Scholarship (3 year award soph/jun/sen)

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must attend full-time each semester, taking only BHSU credits

Joe & Elaine Floyd Scholarship (4 year award)

  • 15 credits per semester

Joseph & Martha Nelson Scholarship (4 year award)

  • Maintain a major in biology, chemistry, physical science, environmental physical science, or mathematics
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of:
    • 3.0 after 2 semesters
    • 3.2 after 3rd and 4th semesters
    • 3.4 after 5th, 6th, and 7th semesters
  • Complete 30 hours of BHSU credits per academic year

Weiland Scholarship

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Must attend full-time each semester, taking only BHSU credits

Mahoney Running Scholarship (4 year award)

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Complete 15 BHSU credits per semester

Delger-Krier (2 year award)

  • Renewable if making appropriate progress towards a degree
  • Determined by Scholarship Coordinator

Child of Alumni (in-state tuition)

  • 2.5 GPA
  • Complete 30 BHSU credits per academic year

Continuing Eligibility Requirements for University Funded Scholarships

Early Scholar (2 year award)

  • 3.5 GPA
  • Must complete 30 BHSU credit hours after 2 semesters

Northern Hills Jacket Incentive (4 year award)

Gold Tier

  • 3.8 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Green Tier 

  • 3.5 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Southern Hills Jacket Incentive (4 year award)

Gold Tier 

  • 3.8 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Green Tier 

  • 3.5 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Presidential Medallion (4 year award)

Gold Tier 

  • 3.8 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Green Tier 

  • 3.25 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Jacket Tier 

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credit hours

Humbert Hall Room Scholarship (2 year award)

  • 3.0 Cumulative GPA
  • Must have completed 30 BHSU credits after 2 semesters

Students must be enrolled in all BHSU classes to be eligible to receive BHSU Foundation Scholarships.  The sum total of a student's financial aid package, including BHSU Foundation scholarships, Institutional scholarships, Outside scholarships, and grant aid (PELL, SEOG, etc.) will not exceed Federal cost of attendance.

Black Hills State University has an outstanding scholarship program that has been established by friends, alumni, faculty, staff and students. Scholarships are based on student achievements and may vary from a one semester to a four-year award. Whatever the amount, scholarships play an important role in assisting students with their educational costs.

Fill out the scholarship application today!

Where ANYTHING is possible