After a South Dakota high school graduate becomes an Opportunity Scholarship recipient, he/she must meet a number of continuing eligibility requirements each semester. Recipients must maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale as well as attempt and complete enough credit hours of instruction to meet the credit hour threshold for the forthcoming year (30 credit hours for the 3rd and 4th term funding, 60 credit hours for 5th and 6th term funding, and 90 credit hours for 7th and 8th term funding). Recipients failing to attempt or meet their respective credit hour benchmark in a given year become permanently ineligible in the scholarship program. Any recipient who loses eligibility because the student's cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 may reestablish eligibility by raising the cumulative grade point average to 3.0 or greater. Each semester the 17 South Dakota institutions monitor recipient continuing eligibility in the Opportunity Scholarship program and upload recipient data into a database maintained by the Board of Regents. These data are carefully monitored at both the institutional and system level to ensure that all students have met the continuing eligibility requirements specified in legislative statute that governs the scholarship program. For instance, campus personnel review credit hours attempted at the start of each semester and notify those students who are at risk of not meeting their respective credit hour threshold for the forthcoming year. Those students who fail to complete enough credit hours are not included in an institution's term funding request, and subsequently become permanently ineligible for further funding. As a function of South Dakota Codified Law, Administrative Rules have been developed to manage recipient continued eligibility across four areas including instances when a:
- Recipient failed to meet the credit hour threshold requirement.
- Recipient is no longer actively enrolled in the program resulting from persistence issues (stop-out without executive director exemption), transfer outside the state, and withdrawal from an institution in South Dakota.
- Recipient fell below the 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
- Recipient has graduated with a baccalaureate degree.
Courses Graded S/U Only
In the past, institutions were required to obtain an exemption from courses that awarded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or Pass/Fail grades. Under the new statute, any credit hours with an assigned grade (excludes "W" or "I") can be counted as earned credit.
Treatment of Special Enrollments
The Administrative Rules for the Opportunity Scholarship program also outline the impact that special enrollments have on a recipient's continuing eligibility. The following conditions for purpose of eligibility apply to special enrollments:
- Extra Heavy Loads.
- Summer and Interim Sessions.
- Repeated Courses.
- Asynchronous Distance Education Courses.
- Internships and Similar External Placement.