Senate panel drops expanded requirements to SD Opportunity Schol - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Senate panel drops expanded requirements to SD Opportunity Scholarship

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A committee of South Dakota's senators dropped a bill requiring recipients of the state's Opportunity Scholarship to reside in the state five extra years.

South Dakota Department of Education Secretary Melody Schopp says the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is an incentive for high school students to take on rigorous curriculum. The scholarship rewards those students for choosing to stay in South Dakota for post-secondary education.

The proposed bill amends South Dakota's Opportunity Scholarship by requiring a recipient to agree in writing that he or she will reside in South Dakota for five years after graduating from an eligible institution.

The recipient then agrees that failure to meet those new provisions would convert the scholarship into an interest-bearing loan.

The South Dakota Board of Regents argued that the Opportunity Scholarship is not a loan service. Department of Education Secretary Melody Schopp said the bill could do the opposite of what the Opportunity Scholarship incentivizes. Schopp said the uncertainty for 18-year-olds to know if they will be in South Dakota in nine years disincentives students to take rigorous courses.

Proponents of SB 213 marked the bill as an investment. Proponents said the state spends so much money on recruiting people to South Dakota and that the state should spend money in keeping people in South Dakota.

The bill failed by a vote of 5-2.

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