The South Dakota Legislature authorized the Regents Scholarship Program in 2003 to allow South Dakota's most academically accomplished high school graduates to receive an affordable education at any university, college, or technical school in South Dakota that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2004, the Legislature renamed the scholarship the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship and authorized funding from the state of South Dakota's Education Enhancement Trust Fund, beginning with high school graduating classes in 2004.
Starting in Fall 2015, the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $6,500 over four years to a qualifying student who attends an eligible higher education institution in South Dakota. Recipients may participate in the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship program for the equivalent of four academic years (eight consecutive fall and spring terms), or until attaining a baccalaureate degree. During each academic year, one-half of the annual scholarship award will be distributed at the beginning of the fall semester and the other half distributed at the beginning of the spring semester:
1st year of attendance
2nd year of attendance
3rd year of attendance
4th year of attendance
NOTE: Students that entered the program prior to July 1, 2015 and are already receiving the scholarship will remain under the previous $5,000 funding structure.