Opportunity Scholarship fund shrinks due to recent recession

Briana Troske

Briana Troske

South Dakota’s Opportunity Scholarship is being reduced because of lack of funding due to the recession. Students are wondering if the Jackrabbit Guarantee will also be in trouble.

“If I didn’t have scholarships, I would have to take out more loans,” said Rachel Hansen, a sophomore majoring in Pre-Pharmacy originally from Sibley, Iowa. “My grades would not be as good and I would have to work more.”

The trust fund set up by the state for the Opportunity Scholarship has not been making any money. Students depending on the Opportunity Scholarship may need to open their minds to other scholarships available.

“The trust fund for the Opportunity Scholarship initially came from the Cement Quarry which the state of South Dakota owned,” said Paul Turman, Board of Regents associate vice president of academic affairs. “The funds were embedded in the trust fund to be used for educational purposes.”

The trust fund was never intended to be the sole part of revenue for the scholarship. South Dakota can draw from revenue that is generated for the state if it meets a certain percentage. Ever since the recession, South Dakota has not been making as much money and therefore cannot draw from revenue because it does not meet that certain percentage.

In order to be awarded the Opportunity Scholarship, students must meet the requirements. A student has to be a resident of South Dakota and earn a 24 or higher on the ACT. Recipients must have completed high school requirements and attend a university in South Dakota, taking 15 credits each semester while maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

The number of Opportunity scholarships from last fall to this year has dropped. Last fall 1,167 students were awarded the scholarship and only 1,114 were awarded this year.

The Jackrabbit Guarantee was created by Jane Christman and Walter Kingsbery in honor of Christman’s parents. They had five children and managed to put three of them through school at SDSU.

The money for the scholarship comes from private donations from alumni. It is also funded through specific departments at SDSU and not through the state of South Dakota. The Jackrabbit Guarantee should not be affected because the funds do not come from the state of South Dakota.

The requirements for the Jackrabbit Guarantee include maintaining a 2.5 GPA and taking at least 15 credits must be taken each semester. The student must be attending SDSU and must earn a 24 for their ACT score.

One thousand dollars are awarded each year to a recipient of the scholarship and during senior year, the student will receive $2,000.

“If I did not have the Jackrabbit Guarantee I would have to save more money and get more student loans. The scholarship helps me out quite a bit,” said Mandy Rolfes, a sophomore majoring in psychology/occupational therapy from Spencer, Iowa.

“I would have to work a lot more, take less credits per semester and college would take me another year to complete if scholarships were not available for me,” said Paul McDowell, a senior from White, S.D. majoring in mechanical engineering.