Education Benefits



Free Tuition for Veterans
SDCL 13-55-2 to 13-55-5 Provides for certain veterans are eligible to take undergraduate courses at a state supported university without the payment of tuition provided they are not eligible for educational payments under the GI Bill or any other federal educational program. To qualify the veteran must:

  • have been discharged under Honorable conditions
  • be a current resident of South Dakota and qualify for in-state tuition
  • meet one of the following criteria
  • served on active duty at any time between August 2, 1990 and a date to be determined
  • received an Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, or other United States campaign or service medal for participation in combat operations against hostile forces outside the boundaries of the United States
  • has a service connected disability rated 10%, or more, disabling.

Eligible veterans may receive one month of free tuition for each month of "qualifying service" with a minimum of one, up to a maximum of four, academic years. Qualifying service is defined as: the amount of time served on active duty between the beginning and ending dates of the particular period of conflict or hostilities during which the veteran earned eligibility for this program.
Under the free tuition program, the veteran has twenty (20) years from the ending date of the specific period of service during which he or she served and met the eligibility criteria, or, twenty (20) years after the date that he or she was rated 10%, or more, disabled by the DVA.
The Application for Free Tuition is available at the schools’ financial aids, veterans representative or registrars offices or, they can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. The completed application, along with a copy of the veteran’s DD-214 must be submitted to the Sioux Falls VA Regional Office (address shown on the reverse side of the form) and then returned to the school.

Free Tuition for Children of Veterans Who Die During Service
SDCL 13-55-6 to 13-55-9 Provides for children who are under the age of 25, are residents of South Dakota, and whose mother or father was killed in action or died of other causes while on active duty, are eligible for free tuition at a state supported school, if the deceased parent was a bona-fide resident of this state for at least six (6) months immediately preceding entry into active service.
The Application for Free Tuition is available at the schools’ financial aids, veterans representative or registrars offices or, they can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Free Tuition for Dependents of POW’s and MIA’s
SDCL 13-55-9.2 to 13-55-9.6 Provides for children and spouses of prisoners of war, or of persons listed as missing in action, are entitled to attend a state supported school without the payment of tuition or mandatory fees provided they are not eligible for equal or greater federal benefits.
The Application for Free Tuition is available at the schools’ financial aids, veterans representative or registrars offices or, they can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Reduced Tuition for South Dakota National Guardmembers
SDCL 33-6-5 - 33-6-8.1 Provides for Guard members, who meet the requirements for admission, are eligible for a fifty percent (50%) reduction in tuition charges at any state supported school for undergraduate programs up to 128 credits and graduate programs up to 32 credits.
OR,
one program of study, approved by the state Board of Education, at any state vocational school upon payment of fifty percent (50%) of the tuition charges.
The receipt of federal educational benefits does not affect eligibility for this program. To qualify the guardmember must:

  1. Be a resident of this state and a member of the SD Army or Air Guard throughout each semester or vocational program for which he or she applies for benefits
  2. Have completed required active duty for training
  3. Attend 90% of drills and training periods and maintain a satisfactory academic grade level
  4. Provide proper notice to the institution at time of registration for the term in which benefits are sought.
Free Tuition to Child or Spouse of South Dakota National Guardmember Disabled or Deceased in the Line of Duty
SDCL 33-6-10 Provides for free tuition to child or spouse of National Guard member disabled or deceased in line of duty--Administration. Any resident of this state who is less than twenty-five years of age and whose parent has died or has sustained a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from duty as a member of the South Dakota National Guard, while on state or federal active duty or any authorized training duty, is entitled to tuition without cost and is entitled to attend any course or courses of study in any state educational institution under the control and management of the Board of Regents. Any person who is a resident of this state whose spouse has died or has sustained a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from duty as a member of the South Dakota National Guard, while on state or federal active duty or any authorized training duty, is entitled to tuition without cost and is entitled to attend any course or courses of study in any state educational institution under the control and management of the Board of Regents. The application and receipt of the benefits of this section are governed by the provisions of ยงยง 13-55-6 to 13-55-9, inclusive.
Honorary High School Diploma
SDCL 33A-2-34 provides for honorary high school diplomas for veterans who served during certain wartime periods. Eligible veterans include anyone who served on active duty at any time during the periods: December 7, 1941 to September 2, 1945; June 25, 1950 to July 31, 1953; or February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975.

As stated in the law, the school district selected by the veteran shall award the diploma to the veteran.

Back to Top