South Dakota Partners in Education

 Eligible Student         pdf flyer

Students must be income and grade eligible. The law only permits students to apply if they are in Kindergarten, 1st Grade, or 9th Grade or entering any grade if transferring from a public school or entering a K-12 school in South Dakota for the first time. Once qualified, a K-8 student would remain eligible for three years, and a high school student, until graduation. Qualified students may reapply after three years.

This law defines an eligible student as a child in a household with an annual income not to exceed 150 percent (150%) of the income that qualifies a student for the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Lunch Program. After the initial period of eligibility, a child would continue to qualify as long as the household income did not exceed 200 percent of the reduced lunch eligibility level.

 Click Here to Apply!

How to Apply for a Scholarship  

Please read the eligibility information carefully. If you do not qualify, do not submit an application.

The SDPE application is an on-line application. You will be asked to set up a TADS Account. Go to and click on Financial Aid Assessment.  If you need assistance, please contact the school you would like your child to attend or use the TADS helpline.

If you already have a TADS account, log in to your existing account and locate the green button labeled – Add School. Click on the -Add School- button. In the School Search box type SDPE and click on the Search button. You will know you are on the right page when you see the SD Partners in Education logo appear at the top of the page. A drop-down box labeled – Schools will appear. Click on the down arrow and select SDPE South Dakota Partners in Education (South Dakota, SD). Check the box next to your eligible child’s name. 

SD Accredited  Private Schools

For a private school to participate in the program, they must be accredited by the South Dakota Department of Education. There are 45 participating schools located across the State.

Want to be an SDPE Participating School?

If you would like to get your school qualified to accept scholarship students, please contact Katie Mellor at 605-679-0112 or

For South Dakota Partners in Education policies and procedures for schools – View our SDPE School Manual.

Scholarship Amounts

Scholarships can be used to pay tuition and fees at an accredited private school. SDPE will determine the amount of the scholarship based on the available funds. Priority is given to low-income students.

Scholarship Impact on the State of South Dakota

The program is designed to be budget neutral to the State of South Dakota. The average scholarship must be less than the State’s cost of educating the student in a public school. For the record… The total K-12 private school enrollment is less than 10,000 students who already save the State and local taxpayers in excess of over $50 million in state aid alone.

How scholarships are funded

The scholarships are funded with both corporate contributors receiving tax credit and private donations. Under the “Partners in Education Tax Credit Program” insurance companies that pay premium and annuity taxes in the state may claim a 100% tax credit on the contribution they make to a scholarship granting organization (SGO). The SGO, in turn, provides scholarships to help eligible students attend participating private schools.