The administrative rules that govern the Opportunity Scholarship program provides authority to the Board of Regents to grant waivers to a limited number of continuous eligibility criteria including the Credit Hour Thresholds and Persistence Requirements. As a result, when a situation arises that hinders a student from meeting the continuing eligibility requirements for the program, he/she has the opportunity to request an exemption waiver from the Executive Director. To this date, waivers have been granted based on five specific rationales including:
- Situations where a medical hardship has hindered a student's progress;
- Student participation in an approved exchange program through their institution;
- Conflict with program of study requirements that influence student credit hours;
- Participation in an institution approved internship or cooperative education program; and/or,
- Military deferral for National Guard or military service.
While waivers are routinely granted for the issues outline above, the Legislature has not granted a Participating Institution or the Board of Regents with the authority to grant waivers for other requirements established in the state statute or administrative rules. These include:
- Be a resident of South Dakota at the time of graduation from high school;
- Have a composite score of 24 or higher on the ACT;
- Meet the high school course requirements for graduation, with a cumulative average grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale), and a C or higher in all required courses;
- Attend a participating postsecondary institution within South Dakota;
- Enter into the program within five years of graduation
- Failure to meet the established application deadlines (24:40:13:12, 24:40:13:14);
- Failure to meet the 3.0 GPA requirements for continuous eligibility criteria (13-55-34); and/or
- Early payment of scholarship awards outside the requirements set forth in 13-55-33 or 24:40:13:20.
Students seeking a waiver to either the Credit Hour Thresholds or Persistence Requirements may do so by emailing Dr. Paul Turman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Prior to submitting a request, students are encouraged to review the Exemption Guidelines to ensure that they include all information necessary for expedient request processing.