Scholarship Program

2019 Application and Eligibility Information

SDRA's scholarship program is designed to encourage and support students studying for a career in retailing or a retail-related field, whether as an owner, manager, or employee. Many retail-related fields of study are eligible, including culinary arts, auto repair, diesel mechanics, pharmacy, tourism management, photography, business management, landscape design, HVAC and more.

What to Include With Your Application

The following information is required. It may be included as an attachment with your application, or may be submitted separately.

  • Print or type out your goals, challenges and accomplishments -OR- provide this information via YouTube video (see page 3 of the application)
  • Include a copy of your most recent grade transcript
  • Provide two letters of reference (at least one must be from a person who currently owns or manages a business

About Our Scholarship ProgramTom MorrisonPhoto of Jerry Wheeler

In 2018, SDRA awarded 9 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

The scholarship program is named in honor of our former Executive Director, Jerry Wheeler, who started the program. The applicant who receives the top score receives an additional $500 Tom Morrison Scholarship, in memory of former SDRA President Tom Morrison.

Where to Obtain an Application

  1. Submit a form online at this link. After completing the form, click on Submit Form. NOTE: You should receive a confirmation by email after submitting your application electronically. If you don't receive a confirmation email, please email SDRA to verify that we received your application. 
  2.  Print a copy of the form here
  3. Pick up an application at any South Dakota university or vocational school financial aid office
  4. Email SDRA to request a hard copy of the application

Notification and Payment

  • Names of scholarship recipients will be announced in July.
  • All scholarships awarded will be paid directly to the school to be applied to tuition, after SDRA receives verification of enrollment.


1.   Career in Retailing

To be eligible, applicant must desire a career in a retail field or a retail-related field.

2. Type of School

To be eligible, applicant must enroll in a retail or retail-related course of study at a qualifying, accredited technical school, college, university, or professional training institute in the fall of the application year. Enrollment in an online degree program from a qualifying school is acceptable if applicant meets other eligibility requirements.

3. Retail / Retail-Related Field of Study

Examples of areas of study considered to be retail-related may include (but are not be limited to): Accounting, Agribusiness (this would be retail agribusiness, not operation of a farm or ranch), Apparel Merchandising, Auto Mechanics, Automotive Technology, Business Administration, Business Management, Collision Repair, Computer Science, Commercial Baking, Culinary Arts, Diesel Mechanics, Electrical Maintenance, Gemology, Heating/Ventilation, Hotel/Restaurant Management, Landscape Design, Pharmacy, Photography, Printing Industries, Refrigeration, Sales/Marketing Management, and Tourism Industry Management. (Note: this list is not all-inclusive).

4. South Dakota Education

Applicants must meet one of these requirements:

  • have graduated from a South Dakota high school -OR-
  • have earned a high school equivalency certificate (such as a GED) in South Dakota -OR-
  • plan to attend post secondary school in South Dakota

5. Post-secondary Credits Requirement / Work Experience in Lieu of Education

  • Applicant must have completed at least 24 credits from a qualifying college or university, or 12 credits from a qualifying tech school or certified professional training institute by September of the award year to be eligible. We will will consider full-time post secondary work experience in lieu of the post-secondary education requirement. 
  • High school seniors are not eligible unless they have sufficient post-secondary school credits. Documentation of these credits - such as a grade transcript - must be provided.

6.  Credit Hours

Students must enroll in 12 or more credit hours of classes at a qualifying post-secondary school or online degree program for the fall of the year the scholarship is awarded.  (Internships do not qualify.)

7.  Prior Recipients

Previous recipients are eligible.

9. SDRA Scholarship Committee

Children and spouses of current members of the SDRA Scholarship Committee are not eligible for consideration.

10. Deadline for 2019 Scholarships

Application and all accompanying materials must be emailed to SDRA or postmarked by April 22, 2019 to be eligible for consideration.


Submit an application for the 2019-2020 Jerry Wheeler Scholarship: