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Middle and High School Counselors

Resources for South Dakota School Counselors and Financial Aid Professionals

Welcome to Mapping Your Future. We provide information and tools to help you provide effective service to your students and families, especially as they explore higher education as a means to a better future.

Mapping Your Future offers:

  • FAFSA Update flyers: Mapping Your Future offers monthly updates on FAFSA completion in South Dakota. Research has shown that FAFSA completion is often an indicator of postsecondary pursuit among high school seniors, and these flyers provide up-to-date information about FAFSA completion trends in South Dakota.
  • College Access News: Subscribe to the South Dakota College Access News to keep informed about college access services in your state!
  • Customer service: You or your students can get the answers to your college planning and financial aid questions free by contacting Mapping Your Future via email or phone. Our email is and our toll-free number is 1-800-374-4072.
  • Financial Aid Night event assistance: Mapping Your Future offers live, online experts that can attend your events via video conferencing technology. Contact us via email or call 1-800-374-4072 to schedule your event.
  • Guide to Life after High School: Sign up to educate your students about career and college preparation, financial aid, and money management. 
  • Podcasts: The podcasts cover topics ranging from completing the FAFSA application to accessing the Student Aid Report and can be easily shared with your students and parents.
  • Publications: Visit the Resource Center to order and download posters, brochures, bookmarks, and other resources to help you and your students.
  • Training: Sign up for one of our webinars.


Order Counselor Resources


South Dakota College Access News

The South Dakota College Access News provides information and resources for counselors, students, and parents on planning, paying and succeeding in college.

A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Survey Shows Students Need Help Completing FAFSA

Paying for college is challenging, but receiving some financial aid can ease the burden on students and families.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Dealing with FAFSA technical issues

Many of us know that feeling of frustration – you’re trying finish an online task, but it just doesn’t work.
A graduate in cap and gown hugging his father.

South Dakota ACT scores above national average

South Dakota students continued to score above the national average in its ACT composite score for 2021, according to information recently released by the state’s Department of Education.
Young woman, and on chin, looking up to left, question marks on chalkboard, wondering.

PSLF Tool updated to help borrowers determine eligibility

Student loan borrowers who haven’t checked their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness lately may want to try again using the updated tool provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Graduation Cap on top of a stack of quarters and bills.

The bottom line on financial aid offers

Choosing a college is an important financial decision.
Young woman with magnifying glass to her eye.

The where and how of a successful scholarship search

If you are looking for scholarships to help you play for college, there are a lot available.
White lines in the road with arrow at the end.

Displaying your accomplishments

Winter break is a good time to get caught up on projects that are harder to find time for during the school year.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

December tasks for high school seniors

During your senior year, you will finalize your college choice.

Thank you

If it weren't for the kindness of friends and strangers, I am not sure where I would be.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

The best time to apply for college - College Application Month

The college application process can be costly if you want to apply to more than one school or institution.
Young man in sports coat walking, looking at smartphone, and smiling.

Follow “Our Dakota Dreams” on social media

Taking the first step toward making a dream come true, especially when it requires attending college, can feel difficult – so difficult that many people abandon their dreams.

Steps to repayment flyer updated

With student loan repayment set to begin February 1, your former students may be asking for guidance.
Community College building.

Board of Regents Launches Our Dakota Dream Coalition

All SD Colleges, Universities Extend Free Application Period to Six Weeks for South Dakota Residents.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Troubleshooting the FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval tool

Applying for financial aid is easy when you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool – unless the tool doesn’t work for you.

Finding the right college on

Students can now research prospective schools and colleges using the new College Explorer tool on the website.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Planned outages to impact financial aid application and repayment plan

If you want to make applying for financial aid as easy as possible, you may want to avoid completing the application during a few specific times in November.
Graduation Cap on top of a stack of quarters and bills.

These numbers have a huge impact on your financial aid offer

Whether you love or hate math problems, figuring out the amount of money you’ll need for college can be overwhelming.
Young woman, and on chin, looking up to left, question marks on chalkboard, wondering.

November tasks for high school seniors

During your senior year, you will finalize your college choice.

FAFSA completions in South Dakota

Mapping Your Future is publishing a monthly FAFSA update flyer for South Dakota with facts and figures related to FAFSA completion.

Order printed brochures, flyers, bookmarks for students and parents

Several South Dakota publications have recently been updated
Graduation Cap on top of $100 bill

New tool launched to estimate federal financial aid

Students and parents can get a peek at how much federal financial aid they might receive with a new tool released this week by the U.S. Department of Education.
Graduate in cap and gown holding a clear piggy bank with coins.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program overhaul

The Department of Education announced a major overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

Fall enrollment at South Dakota’s public universities

The number of students at South Dakota’s public universities is mostly unchanged from year, according to a report from the Board of Regents.

Schedule your fall financial aid night event

Now is a great time to schedule your fall financial aid night event with Mapping Your Future.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

Students now have more time to save money on college admissions

As a part of a state-wide College Access Campaign, students can apply to several South Dakota institutions, and they won’t have to pay an application fee.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Alert for 2022-23 FAFSA filers with 2020 unemployment income

Some students and parents who received unemployment income in 2020 could see an incorrect reduction in their eligibility for need-based aid for the 2022-23 academic year.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

October tasks for high school seniors

During your senior year, you will finalize your college choice.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

2022-23 FAFSA materials now available for training and presentations

In another sign that a new FAFSA season is upon us, the Department of Education has released the final versions of the 2022–23 FAFSA form and worksheet.

A worksheet to prepare for the 2022-23 FAFSA

Students and parents seeking financial aid for college can get a head start on the application process by reviewing a worksheet released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Two questions to be removed from future federal aid applications

Two questions will be disappearing from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). . . but not just yet.

Mapping Your Future turns 25

Mapping Your Future is now older than many college students.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

2022-23 FAFSA information posted by Department of Education

It is a sign that fall is almost here.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Answering student and parent questions about the 2022-23 FAFSA

Although the future may still seem a little uncertain now with the pandemic, completing the FAFSA is one way students can keep their options open.
Young woman with magnifying glass to her eye.

New South Dakota educational opportunity in the medical field

Students interested in the medical field now have another educational program to choose from in South Dakota.
Person putting last piece of a jigsaw puzzle down.

Jobs program for students featured on South Dakota Public Radio

A job program for high school students in the state recently took the spotlight on a South Dakota Public Broadcasting Radio program.
Pencil and completed bubble test answer sheet.

September tasks for high school seniors

The college preparation that takes place during your senior year is filled with a lot of details and paperwork.
Road passes with directional signs pointing in all directions.

A four-step process to making good decisions for your future

The decisions you make today will have life-long significance.

The secrets of scholarship-winning students

Applying for scholarships can seem like a lot of work when there’s no guarantee that you will receive any money for your education.
Shocked Woman

Strategies for students and parents when money for college runs short

Not to ruin anyone’s summertime vibe, but just a reminder - it won’t be long now before fall semester tuition bills come due.
Father helping with son wtih homework.

August tasks for high school seniors

Some facets of your senior year may look different than past years, but starting your senior year is still an exciting time.
A graduate in cap and gown hugging his father.

South Dakota students named presidential scholars; teachers honored

Despite dealing with educational challenges brought on by the pandemic, high school seniors from across the country, including three South Dakota students, accomplished enough to be named U.S. Presidential Scholars.
Man in military fatigues working on laptop at desk.

Reduced tuition rate approved for Ellsworth program

Active-duty Airmen and some of their family members are among those who can take advantage of reduced tuition for a new postsecondary education program to be offered at Ellsworth Air Force Base in the fall.

Research reveals educational, performance benefits of taking a break

It was a little unscheduled break in the action during the Tuesday night game.

Selective Service, drug questions won't impact financial aid

Students completing the FAFSA for the next couple of years will see questions about Selective Service and drug convictions, but no matter how students answer the questions, it will not impact their financial aid.
Woman with hand under trunk of tree with $ signs as leaves on chalkboard

TEACH Grant program changes to benefit teachers, students

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced changes to the TEACH Grant Program that will support teachers and encourage students to enter the teaching profession.
Woman in hardhat reviewing house plans.

Accomplishing career goals with stackable credentials

For some students, knowing what education they want to pursue is clear, but finding a program that matches their interest is a challenge.
$100 bill on computer circuit board

Making the grade when it comes to financial matters

As a high school student, you probably often aspire to getting a good score when it comes to your classes.

New resources and features on

Since students have finished their studies for the academic year, it's a good time to think about the future.

Borrowers should research Student Loan Forgiveness options

Student Loan Forgiveness is trending topic both online and in offline conversations.

Scholarship opportunities on Department of Labor website

Although the main purpose of the site is to provide information about careers, CareerOneStop also offers scholarship information to help with funding the education needed for a chosen career.

The Full Student webinar recording available

As a college student himself, Kadeem Leslie recently provided his unique insight into the challenges currently faced by many students in a Mapping Your Future webinar presented in early May.

Parking spots and five other advantages to attending summer classes

Even if you don't list summer school at the top of your list of summer fun activities, it can be a very rewarding experience.
Person putting coin into a pink piggy bank.

Practice budgeting skills with summer job earnings

A summer job offers many benefits for students in addition to the money earned.
Road passes with directional signs pointing in all directions.

Helping all students succeed

Many students want to succeed in school and in life, but sometimes there are barriers keeping them from reaching that success. to be only site for students, parents to create FSA ID

To make a one-stop location for all federal financial aid functions, the Department of Education announced it will retire the previous website used for creating an FSA ID.

CareerShip information recently updated

The ability to research careers is important to selecting a career path.

Packing list for college bound students

If you plan to live in a dorm for the fall semester, you can start preparing now by knowing what you plan to take with you.

Three things students should do to prepare for their senior year

Senior year of high school is exciting, but the truth is – it can also be very overwhelming.
Community College building.

How a campus tour can be critical to your college success

A key to a successful college experience for some students is being in the right environment.
Woman with hand under trunk of tree with $ signs as leaves on chalkboard

Schedule 2021 online presentations for your students

Plan now for next fall by scheduling online presentations for your students. 
Road passes with directional signs pointing in all directions.

Borrowers warned about student loan scams in social media campaign

While a friendly April Fool’s joke can be amusing, it’s no fun to be fooled by student loan scams.

Handout created to explore site

Mapping Your Future created a handout to help students explore the website in conjunction with the Council on College Admission in South Dakota (CCASD) Virtual College Fair to be held March 22-April 1.
Woman in hardhat reviewing house plans.

Celebrating work in South Dakota

Work is essential to our lives, and as such, it deserves a week-long celebration.

Fall semester to look more like normal at state’s public universities

Students and parents can look forward to a return to more normal operations at South Dakota’s six public universities and two special schools, according to an announcement from the Board of Regents.

Understanding what it means to be a dependent for financial aid

It is an important term in financial aid, but one that often creates a lot of confusion among students and parents.
Young boy holding books balancing an apple in front of chalk board, drawn graduate cap on his head

The secret of successful students

Students who do well in school know there’s a strategy that helps them make good grades, earn more awards, and, overall, enjoy the learning experience.

South Dakota grant and scholarship information

South Dakota students have a variety of state grant and scholarship programs available to them. 

CareerShip helps with career planning and college selection

Choosing the right career takes research.
A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Tips for encouraging your students to complete the FAFSA

With 36 percent of the state’s high school seniors competing the Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA), South Dakota now ranks 28th in the country in terms of FAFSA completion*.

Applying for federal financial aid will be different in the future

Students attending college in the 2023-24 academic year will see a shorter, simpler form when applying for federal financial aid.

New number and access code for college planning texting service

Mapping Your Future encourages high school counselors, parents, and students or anyone interested in valuable college planning tips to sign up for its new texting service.

Important facts about the FSA ID

Students and parents should think of the FSA ID as the key that unlocks access to their federal financial aid.
Graduation Cap on top of $100 bill

Asking for a lower tuition bill

Controlling the cost of higher education is an issue on the minds of many students and parents.

Five things you’ll need for a successful scholarship search

To find something, you first need to know what it is you are searching for and such is the case with scholarship searches.

Brookings counselor named South Dakota Counselor of the Year

Randi Hartman, counselor at Dakota Prairie Elementary School in Brookings, was named the South Dakota School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association
Green dollar sign with graduation cap in a field on a sunny day.

South Dakota among states with the lowest student loan balance

South Dakota is among the states with the lowest student loan balances, ranking 48th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a report released by AdvisorSmith.

Scholarship application webinar materials, recordings available

To provide insight on completing scholarship applications, two webinars were recently held.

How to succeed in high school

Successful high school students know that it isn't just one thing that has made them a success.

Promoting local scholarships through SDMyLife

A scholarship could make all the difference for a student trying to pay for college.

The difference between sticker price and what you will pay for college

One look at a college's sticker price and many students and their parents wonder how they will ever be able to afford higher education.

Four things to consider before taking classes at another school

Most college programs are designed so you can take all the necessary classes to graduate within four years.
3D dollar signs filling the image.

Five important things you should know about grad school financial aid

For many students, pursuing a graduate or professional degree can provide important career advantages, but for some students the advanced degree is not be possible without financial aid.

Applying for financial aid? There's an app for that

It's never been easier or more convenient to apply for financial aid for college.

New college, career resource guide created for South Dakota students

To help students navigate the overwhelming world of resources, the South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) created "The Ultimate College and Career Resource Guide."

Guide aims to help parents understand, engage with digital learning

Just as the experience grows with digital learning, so may be some of the frustration for students and parents.
White lines in the road with arrow at the end.

Guide to Life after High School reinforces discussions

Students can benefit from learning in a variety of formats.

College Readiness Coursework available for South Dakota students

South Dakota high school students, who want to attend college, but didn’t meet certain college readiness benchmarks, can take advantage of the College Readiness Coursework program.

Session for high school students now on

Planning for life after high school is challenging at any time.

Common FAFSA questions addressed in podcasts

Mapping Your Future teamed up with South Dakota financial aid professionals to develop a series of podcasts to help students and parents preparing for higher education. site released

Our world today is dramatically different that it was just a few weeks ago.
Person putting last piece of a jigsaw puzzle down.

Using South Dakota website resources

The website is designed to provide college planning information for South Dakota students and parents, as well as resources and information for South Dakota high school counselors and educators.

 Events for Counselors

Deuel School District Financial Aid Event

Thursday, December 16 at 10:00 AM CST
Online Meeting
Host: Beth Ziehmer

More Info

Rutland School District Financial Aid Night

Thursday, February 10 at 6:30 PM CST
Online Meeting
Host: Beth Ziehmer

More Info