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South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship


Scholarship Value: $6,500
Awards Available: 100
Award Deadline: January 15, 2022

The South Dakota Legislature authorized the Regents Scholarship Program in 2003 to allow South Dakota's most academically accomplished high school graduates to receive an affordable education at any university, college, or technical school in South Dakota that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2004, the Legislature renamed the scholarship the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship and authorized funding from the state of South Dakota's Education Enhancement Trust Fund, beginning with high school graduating classes in 2004.

Scholarship Amounts

Starting in Fall 2015, the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $6,500 over four years to a qualifying student who attends an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota. Recipients may participate in the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship program for the equivalent of four academic years (eight consecutive fall and spring terms), or until attaining a baccalaureate degree. During each academic year, one-half of the annual scholarship award will be distributed at the beginning of the fall semester and the other half distributed at the beginning of the spring semester:

Option 1

RESIDENT STATUS: Be a resident of South Dakota at the time of high school graduation

ACT SCORE: Have an ACT Composite or Super Score* of 24 or higher before the beginning of postsecondary education. If using a SAT score, the sum of the verbal and mathematics scores on the SAT must be at least 1090 (testing before January 2016) or 1180 (testing after March 2016).

CURRICULUM / GPA: Complete the high school course requirements (see Curriculum Requirements webpage) with no final grade below a "C" (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) and a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (grade of "B") prior to graduation (NOTE: One unit of high school credit equals one year of instruction).

ATTENDANCE: Attend a university, college, or technical school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota.

TIMING: Enter into the program within 5 years of high school graduation, or within 1 year of the student's release from active duty military service (if that release is within 5 years of the date of the student's high school graduation). Students seeking to transfer from a regionally accredited university, college, or technical school located outside of South Dakota may do so within two years following high school graduation and be eligible to receive partial award.

-- OR --

Option 2 (has a higher ACT requirement, but no curriculum or GPA requirement)

RESIDENT STATUS: Be a resident of South Dakota at the time of high school graduation

ACT SCORE: Have an ACT Composite or Super Score* of 28 or higher and meet the ACT college readiness benchmarks scores equaling or exceeding 18 for English, 22 for Reading, 22 for Math, and 23 for Science. If using an SAT score the sum of the verbal and mathematics scores on the SAT must be at least 1260 (testing before January 2016) or 1310 (testing after March 2016).

ATTENDANCE: Attend a university, college, or technical school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and that provides instruction from a campus located in South Dakota.

TIMING: Enter into the program within 5 years of high school graduation, or within 1 year of the student's release from active duty military service (if that release is within 5 years of the date of the student's high school graduation). Students seeking to transfer from a regionally accredited university, college, or technical school located outside of South Dakota may do so within two years following high school graduation and be eligible to receive partial award.

Due Dates

Complete application packages are due to institutional representatives by no later than September 1st for those seeking initial enrollment during the Fall term, and no later than January 15th for those seeking initial enrollment during the Spring term. However, it is recommended that the initial scholarship application and transcript be submitted by June 1st when establishing eligibility for the Fall term and November 1st for the Spring term so that the financial aid office can begin to work with eligible students to package a scholarship award in a more timely manner.


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South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship
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