State scholarship offers a new ‘opportunity’

State scholarship offers a new 'opportunity' Beginning March 29, applications are available at high schools and colleges for the state's new South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship.

State lawmakers this year funded the program, which awards a $5,000 scholarship over four years to high school graduates from South Dakota who complete a challenging high school curriculum and maintain certain academic standards. High school seniors graduating this spring become the first students eligible for the scholarship.

"This is a great day for South Dakota," said Gov. Mike Rounds. "This guaranteed scholarship offers significant financial incentives to students who take a set of demanding courses in high school and stay in state for college. If we keep our talented young people in South Dakota, it can only enhance long-term economic development," Rounds said.

To qualify in high school, students must take four years of English, four years of algebra or higher mathematics, four years of science, three years of social studies, two years of the same foreign language, and a half-year each of computer science and fine arts. They must get no final grade lower than a C (2.0 on 4.0 scale) in any of those courses and have a cumulative high school grade point average of at least 3.0.

Eligibility is based on an application submitted to the South Dakota postsecondary institution by the student, along with an official high school transcript and verification of a 24 or higher ACT score. The scholarship may be used at any South Dakota university, college, or technical school accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

"The message to high school students is � prepare for postsecondary education by taking the right courses and you will be rewarded. In turn, the state is rewarded when those students stay in South Dakota to attend college and hopefully begin their careers," said Harvey C. Jewett, president of the South Dakota Board of Regents, which will administer the state scholarship program. "We expect the state's investment in these scholarships to pay long-term dividends.

Information and applications are available from South Dakota high schools and South Dakota postsecondary institutions. Or go to the Board of Regents' Web site at www.sdbor.edu and click on the link to "South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship."

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