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Ellsworth Air Force Base Tuition Rate Approved




News Release

Contacts: Janelle Toman, Director of Communications


Tracy Mercer, Information Research Analyst



Telephone: (605) 773-3455

Fax: (605) 773-5320




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, July 22, 2021


Ellsworth Air Force Base Tuition Rate Approved


PIERRE, S.D. – A reduced tuition rate at South Dakota public universities has been approved for active-duty Airmen, their spouses and dependents, and U.S. Department of Defense civilians who work on Ellsworth Air Force Base. This rate supports Black Hills State University’s selection this month to operate a local campus on Ellsworth following a formal Education Needs Assessment to determine the needs for the installation.


The new per-credit-hour rates -- $250 for undergraduate courses and $300 for graduate coursework -- were approved as part of BHSU’s competitive proposal to provide voluntary postsecondary education at Ellsworth beginning this fall. Air Force officials notified BHSU July 14 of its selection to support this mission.


“We are honored to be chosen to support the Ellsworth mission,” said BHSU President Laurie Nichols. “Building upon a time-honored relationship between BHSU and Ellsworth, we are ready to help service members, their families, Department of Defense civilians, and veterans secure the skills and tools needed to succeed in today’s environment.”


BHSU has a long history of collaboration with Ellsworth AFB. The university has offered courses to Ellsworth military personnel for nearly 60 years. Until 2006, when an education facility on base was repurposed for other uses to meet mission requirements, BHSU also had a physical presence on the base.


Action by the South Dakota Board of Regents means the following groups now qualify for the reduced tuition rate:

  • Active-duty military members at Ellsworth AFB and the BHSU campus in Spearfish;
  • Spouses and dependents of active-duty military at Ellsworth AFB (undergraduate rate only);
  • Department of Defense civilians at Ellsworth AFB, Black Hills State University (both Spearfish and Rapid City campuses), and by internet delivery.


Active-duty personnel at Ellsworth previously received a $250 discounted rate at BHSU in Rapid City and for online courses, and will continue to receive that benefit under this plan.