Governor Dennis Daugaard offers a little good news for a minority of South Dakota college students but bad news for all Regental students.
In the small good news, Governor Daugaard is willing to spend $1.274 million to increase the Opportunity Scholarship from $5,000 to $6,500. 1,224 new students got the Opportunity Scholarship last year, bringing the total number of recipients in FY2014 to 3,757. Opportunity Scholars get $1,000 during each of their first three undergraduate years, then $2,000 in their fourth year. Given an average yearly cost of $14,037 at our public universities, the proposed increase raises the value of the Opportunity Scholarship from 8.9.% to 11.6% of the price of a public four-year degree.
Opportunity Scholars make up 8.4% of the students enrolled on Regental campuses. Continuing last year's tuition freeze for all of them would cost $6.8 million. Governor Daugaard says we don't have the money for that relief, and Regents exec Jack Warner says the Regents won't push the Governor for another tuition freeze. Students seeking relief from the costs the state has piled onto their young shoulders, you may be on your own in Pierre. Time for some student organizing!