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 this 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:
1st year of attendance
2nd year of attendance
3rd year of attendance
4th year of attendance
  • *NOTE: Students that entered the program prior to July 1,2015 and are already receiving the scholarship will remain under the previous $5,000 funding structure.

Participating Institutions

Augustana University
Black Hills State University
Colorado Technical University
Dakota State University

Dakota Wesleyan University
Kilian Community College
Lake Area Technical Institute
Mount Marty College
Mitchell Technical Institute
National American University
Northern State University
Presentation College
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
South Dakota State University
Southeast Technical Institute
University of South Dakota
University of Sioux Falls
Western Dakota Technical Institute

Initial Eligibility Requirements

The South Dakota Legislature established five requirements that all South Dakota high school graduates must meet in order to establish their initial eligibility in the Opportunity Scholarship program. These requirements specify that a recipient must:
  1. Be a resident of South Dakota at time of high school graduation.
  2. Have an ACT composite score of 24 or higher before the beginning of post-secondary education. If using a SAT score, the sum of the verbal and mathematics scores on the SAT must be at least 1090.
  3. Complete high school course requirements 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 1 year of instruction).
  4. Effective for those students entering into postsecondary education for the first time on or after August 2013, the curriculum requirements specified in section 3 above are not required for any student who has received a composite score on the ACT of at least 28 and meets the ACT college readiness benchmarks scores equaling or exceeding 18 for English, 22 for Reading, 22 for Math, and 23 for Science.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Application Forms