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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Lawmakers Discuss Options For Out Of State Students

Students from neighboring states could qualify for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship if legislation before the House State Affairs Committee passes. Lawmakers need more testimony before making a decision.

House Bill 1078 allows students  from neighboring states who open enroll to a South Dakota high school eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship.   Democrat State Representative Kathy Tyler says competition among students is a good thing.

"It fits right into the Governors work force development; bring in these good kids, keep them here. And you know what, it’s a good thing for South Dakota to do. We’re inviting these out of state students to stay in South Dakota and it’s just one of those good things that we do," Representative Tyler says.

But opponents like Liza Clark with the Bureau of Finance and Management says it takes money away from South Dakota residents.

"So $5,000 was what the scholarship was started at. If we continue to change the eligibility requirements to add students, it makes it harder and harder for us to ever increase that purchasing power as our cost of tuition continues to rise," Clark says.

Clark also says  the scholarship is paid for with tax payer money and it is not fair to offer it to out of state residents.

The House State Affairs Committee  will hear more testimony on the House Bill 1078 on Friday.  The committee passes House Bill 1019, which permits South Dakota to participate in a state authorization reciprocity agreement or SARA. The goal makes enrolling in online courses at out of state institutes easier for students. House Bill 1019 goes next to the House Floor.