SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota has virtually no need-based financial aid for college students. This topic has been covered in the past, but as enrollment slips in the SD Board of Regents system, KELOLAND News is looking at how much financial aid is given by the state to students.

In 2013, the legislature passed SB 237 to create a need-based grand fund. The fund gives about $200,000 a year from the state to be distributed to the six public universities, four technical schools, five private colleges/universities and one tribal college.

The institutions must match every $1 from the state with $3 from the university.

How it works

To explain how the state aid works in South Dakota, first we need to understand the Federal Pell Grant Program.

Federal Pell Grants

💲 Max amount: $6,195 (2020)
💲 SD Average: $3,763

👪 The amount someone gets depends on his/her “expected family contribution.” This number is calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

There are also work-study and federal subsidized student loans.

📊 Nearly 28 percent of college students in South Dakota received the Federal Pell Grant from 2016-2017 school year, according to the federal government.

State Aid

The number of students eligible for the Federal Pell Grant program at each institution determines how much of the $200,000 each institution gets.

The campus is then allowed to make awards of $500 to $2,000.

These awards are given to the students with the most unmet needs after considering other sources of financial aid.

Institutional grants and scholarships

There are other forms of aid at individual universities, especially in the form of scholarships.

By the numbers

The average amount of aid received breaks down to show South Dakota’s students having to rely more on federal grants other than the Pell Grant.

Meanwhile, schools in other states have substantially more state aid, which is represented by green in the chart below.

The South Dakota Board of Regents analyzed federal data to look at how much each state in the region is investing into Pell Recipient students.

So, what’s next?

KELOLAND’s Sarah McDonald talked with Kevin Schieffer, the president of SDBOR and the presidents of University of South Dakota and Dakota State University.

College at a Cost

They are all supporting something called the Dakota Promise Scholarship. The proposal passed unanimously in the South Dakota Senate, but failed in the House.

KELOLAND News Capitol News Bureau Chief Bob Mercer reports the regents informally agreed that in the 2020 session they would seek $2 million and the legislation would have grade-point and ACT/SAT standards. It also would be broader, by making students eligible at tribal higher-education institutions too.

Watch Sarah McDonald’s full report Thursday night at 10 p.m. on Eye on KELOLAND