Updated: May 30
South Dakota, The Mount Rushmore State, offers benefits to over 66,000 veterans.
South Dakota State Veteran Education Benefits
Tuition Waivers for Veterans and their Dependents
Veterans may get tuition waivers at South Dakota state colleges. To be eligible for waivers, applicants must meet the following conditions:
● Not eligible for any of the federal education programs such as the GI Bill
● Must be enrolled in undergraduate classes at a state college
● Must have been honorably discharged
● Must be a South Dakota resident and qualify for in-state tuition
Veterans must meet one of the following criteria:
● Served in the armed forces after August 2, 1990
● Received one of the following:
o Armed Forces Expeditionary medal
o Campaign or service medal
o Disability rated 10% due to military service
Tuition waivers are awarded per month of qualifying service. Veterans may receive waivers for between one and four academic years
surviving dependents of a service member who died may be eligible for tuition waivers at state colleges. The service member must have lived in South Dakota for six months before entering military service. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
● 25 or younger
● South Dakota Resident
● The parent must have been killed while on active duty
Surviving dependents of military service members listed as POW or MIA may also be eligible for state colleges' tuition waivers. Applicants must not be qualified for equal or better federal benefits.
High School Diploma Program for Veterans
Veterans who left school before receiving high school diplomas may be eligible to receive honorary high school diplomas. School districts award these diplomas to applicants who qualify. Students must have served during one of the following periods:
● December 7, 1941, through September 2, 1945
● June 25, 1950, through July 31, 1953, or
● February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975
Tuition Benefits for National Guard Service Members
Guard members attending state college may qualify to pay only 50% of tuition costs. Included in this program:
● Up to 128 credits towards a bachelor’s degree
● Up to 32 credits in a graduate program
● State Board of Education approved vocational school programs
To qualify for this benefit, applicants must meet the following criteria:
● South Dakota Residency
● South Dakota Army or Air Guard member during the semester or vocational program the benefits are applied to
● Complete required training
● Attend 90% or more drills/training periods
● Must maintain satisfactory academic progress
● Give appropriate notice of the benefits to the
● Receiving Federal educational benefits do not disqualify applicants from this benefit.
Dependents of National Guard members who are disabled due to military service, and surviving dependents of members who have died, may qualify for free tuition at state colleges.
To qualify for free tuition, applicants must meet the following criteria:
● South Dakota Resident
● Under 26
● Parent died due to military service, or
● Became totally and permanently disabled because of military service
Spouses of members disabled due to military service, and surviving spouses of those who have died, may also qualify for this benefit.
To qualify, spouse applicants must meet the following criteria:
● South Dakota, Resident
● Spouse died due to military service, or
● Spouse became totally and permanently disabled because of military service
Tuition waivers apply for any course of study at any state college managed by the South Dakota Board of Regents.
Veterans Hiring Preference
Veterans may be eligible for hiring preference. Preference applies to employment, and promotions in all state, county, municipal, and school district governments. Veterans must who have the minimum qualifications will always be granted an interview. Disabled veterans are given preference over veterans who are not disabled.
To be eligible for employment preference, applicants must have been honorably discharged and be a US citizen.
Qualifying conditions also include:
● Serving full obligation for active duty, reserve, or National Guard, unless
● A veteran was discharged early because of:
o Medical Condition
o Reduction in force or convenience of the military
Applicants must meet job requirements. Veterans who apply must not be disqualified because of their age, loss of a limb, or any other physical impairment.
The surviving spouse (cannot of remarried) of an eligible veteran who died due to military service may be given preference equal to a veteran preference. The spouse must meet minimum job qualifications.
The spouses of a disabled eligible veteran who cannot use their right to employment preference may receive the priority. The spouse must meet minimum job qualifications.
South Dakota State Veteran Housing Benefits
South Dakota Veterans Assisted Care Homes and Nursing Homes
The Michael J. Fitzmaurice Veterans Home in Hot Springs, South Dakota, has 24 daily living beds and 76 skilled nursing beds. For veterans, spouses, or surviving spouses to be eligible for admission, the veterans must meet the following criteria:
● Honorably discharged
● Have served during a time that qualifies the veteran for benefits
● A resident of South Dakota for five years before the application
● Unable to work
● Submit to a completed physical examination within the 60 days before admission
Applicants must also meet the following criteria: