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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 48.07
Liaison Kathy Johnson
Submission Date April 21, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Black Hills State University
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.78 / 4.00 Katie Greer
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

BHSU ranks as one of the top schools as far as quality for the price. In 2015, BHSU was ranked in Top 50 Most Affordable Online Education Programs. In 2016, BHSU was named most affordable business school by College Choice and one of the most affordable colleges for a master’s in education.
South Dakota Jump Start helps make college affordable through a combination of financial aid, scholarships, guaranteed summer employment (beginning the summer before freshman year) and money help to pay for textbooks and a laptop computer. The Earn and Learn program helps you pay for college. Prior to your freshman, sophomore and junior years, students in Jump Start will have the opportunity to live on campus, earn college credit, and work part time to help pay for education. During the final summer of the Earn and Learn, they will be able to take part in other paid opportunities, including campus internships or conducting research in their major with a faculty mentor. Throughout the program, Jump Start Advisors will work with students, families, school counselors and others to make sure everyone is confident that the necessary financial resources will be available.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

BHSU TRiO staff are members of ASPIRE. ASPIRE serves as a vehicle which provides professional development and technical assistance to increase expertise of individuals who are involved in services to TRiO students. ASPIRE strives to organize program personnel into a cohesive unit, to facilitate open communication between program personnel, and to disseminate legislative and Department of Education information to ensure that program personnel are well informed on current issues.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

BHSU is now home to the South Dakota GEAR UP Program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program.The GEAR UP Summer Program is a three-week, residential, pre-college enrichment program which is designed for High School students who desire to enroll and succeed in higher education. Student instructional costs, room and board, 3 meals per day (plus 1 evening snack), books and learning supplies are provided.

The Bridge Program, held in late August, is an expanded orientation program for American Indian freshmen students at Black Hills State University. The Bridge Program helps students transition from high school to college by addressing academic, professional, cultural and social issues that first-time Native college students may face.

By attending the Bridge Program, students will become used to campus life at BHSU, gain access to student services and campus resources and learn effective academic skills. Students will build a sense of community and develop an early network of peers. Bridge Program participants will meet BHSU faculty, staff and upperclassmen student mentors.

The Bridge Program is free and limited to the first 30 incoming BHSU freshmen who apply.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The SSS program sets aside a minimum of $30,000 each year to award to SSS students with the greatest financial need. SSS participants are considered for this grant aid once they have completed one semester in the program. Amounts may vary by semester, but average approximately $400 to $500 per semester and are renewable. These students must be active participants in SSS who have an “unmet need” remaining after all other aid has been applied. Freshmen recipients who maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA will be considered for renewal for their sophomore year.

All students who participate in SSS are eligible to apply for the TRIO Essay Scholarship. The essays are due at the end of March each year. Two or three scholarships will be awarded each year in the amount of $250 to $500 each.

The Hatterscheidt Scholarship is a one-year award valued at $1,500. These selective application-based scholarships are awarded annually to seniors graduating from South Dakota high schools who meet the following minimum requirements: must be a South Dakota resident and graduate from a South Dakota high school, show financial need and apply for Federal Student Aid through the FAFSA, minimum high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, be accepted for admission to Black Hills State University, and attend the Spearfish main campus of BHSU full time (min. 12 credit hours).

The Kevin Whirlwind Horse Memorial Run/Walk is sponsored each year on the Saturday of the Lakota Omniciye spring powwow in memory of this young man, a former BHSU student who was killed in a car accident in 1984. Kevin was an active and respected student leader, and the Memorial Run/Walk fundraiser serves to recognize the achievements of students like Kevin who are working to improve their campus, community, and world through the active pursuit of higher education. Each year, one $500 scholarship is presented to an American Indian sophomore who demonstrates outstanding academic ability and leadership skills.


A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The Admissions staff at BHSU actively recruit throughout the region, including in-person visits to high schools in low-income areas of the state.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

Student Support Services (SSS) is one of seven federal TRiO programs, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, for students who are serious about graduating from college. SSS helps students to stay in college until they earn their baccalaureate degrees.
South Dakota Jump Start is a federally funded First in the World program designed to help students succeed in college by providing them a financial and academic Jump Start. Jump Start Advisors will help students navigate the important first years of college. By identifying and addressing obstacles students face when considering college, advisors provide help and support that makes entering and succeeding in college possible.


Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:
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A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

The BHSU Little Jackets Learning Center provides a safe, fun and stimulating environment for children while their parents pursue a higher education. http://www.bhsu.edu/studentlife/living/childcareservices/tabid/159/default.aspx


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Our strategic plan includes a goal to create, foster and support an inclusive environment by increasing the recruitment, retention and graduation of students as represented by:
Native American, Hispanic, Veteran, Adult Learner, First Generation and other ethnic,
economic status and demographic groups reflective of the population in the state and
region, and international students.
Veterans Affairs provides resources to Veteran students. Our staff aids in researching and receiving education benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the State of South Dakota, as well as state/federal organizations. We are here to offer a place for independent study and a safe atmosphere where veterans can feel free to share military experiences.
More than 30 percent of BHSU students are adult learners. We've developed an Adult Learner publication for distribution.
Our Student Success Center provides an orientation specifically designed for off-campus, non-traditional, veteran, and commuter students.


Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):
Yes

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):
30

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):
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On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):
48

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):
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Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.