State money to keep flowing

Claudia Mcintosh

Claudia Mcintosh

The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is here to stay, at least for another year.

The Opportunity Scholarship provides qualifying incoming freshmen with $5,000 in funds to be applied to tuition costs at a higher education institute in South Dakota.

Earlier this year, there was discussion in the South Dakota Legislature that the scholarship wouldn’t be available to freshmen entering college in the 2005-2006 school year because of low funding. It was also rumored that current recipients may not get money for anything but their first year of college.

About 360 SDSU students received the scholarship and some were upset at the prospect of not getting the money that was promised.

“I was kind of angry that they were even thinking about getting rid of it because they should have looked into the cost before implementing it,” said Tyler Poppen, an 18-year-old freshman environmental management major.

However, the money has been appropriated and qualifying incoming freshmen and current recipients can expect to continue to receive the scholarship funds.

“There was some concern about whether the scholarship could be funded because so many students met the criteria to receive it, but the scholarship is being offered again this year,” said Marysz Rames, dean of Student Affairs.

The future of the scholarship beyond this year is uncertain, but if the citizens of South Dakota have any control, the scholarship will be offered indefinitely. Most see it as a useful tool to keep students in South Dakota and at the same time, recognize them for their hard work.

“I can’t say what the governor and the legislators will decide about the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship, but I think that there are a lot of South Dakotans who support it and will work to keep it,” Rames said.

Students who were freshmen in the fall 2004 semester were the first to receive the scholarship.

One thousand dollars is awarded for each of the first three years of college attendance and $2,000 is awarded for the fourth year. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale and must complete at least 30 credit hours during the academic year. To retain the scholarship, they must also meet the minimum passing scores set by the Board of Regents (BOR) on all sections of the BOR college proficiency examination the first time they take it.