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South Dakota Changes Scholarship Law

Students in South Dakota may be able to retain their scholarships even if they go out of state.�� The House Education Committee voted to let Opportunity Scholarship recipients keep their scholarships even if they change to an out of state college.�� As long as these students start their college degree program in state, they can transfer those funds to colleges out of state according to new guidelines.

Currently, students who start out of state may return and be eligible for the $5,000, four-year award. But students who start college in South Dakota, leave and then return no longer qualify for the scholarship.

The state-funded scholarship was started as a way to encourage more of South Dakota's top-performing high school graduates to choose a college, university or technical school in the state. Supporters of the more lenient approach said even students who cross state borders for a year should be encouraged to come back home.

"I don't know that there are a lot of these students, but I think it's reasonable that when a student is trying to find their vocation, they may leave South Dakota for a year somewhere else," said Rep. Joni Cutler, R-Sioux Falls. "We want our young people to go on to college and to stay in South Dakota or to come back here and work here and live in South Dakota."

This bill has its opponents though.�� Some believe that the whole point of the Opportunity Scholarship is to promote attendance at South Dakota Colleges; while others feel that time away from the home state can be a great learning tool.

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