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.
The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship is awarded over four years to high school graduates from South Dakota who complete a challenging high school curriculum and maintain certain academic standards. Eligible applicants must: have an ACT composite score of 24 or higher before the beginning of postsecondary education and a 3.0 GPA (If using a SAT score, the sum of the verbal and mathematics scores on the SAT must be at least 1090 [testing before January 2016] or 1180 [testing after March 2016]); or, if there's no curriculum or GPA requirement, have an ACT composite score of 28 or higher and meet the ACT college readiness benchmarks scores equaling or exceeding 18 for English, 22 for Reading, 22 for Math, and 23 for Science (If using an SAT score the sum of the verbal and mathematics scores on the SAT must be at least 1260 [testing before January 2016] or 1320 [testing after March 2016]). Applicants must attend an approved school in South Dakota and maintain a 3.0 GPA.