We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Opportunity Scholarship Impact: Better Course Performance, Unclear Influence on Choosing SD Schools

Say what you will about the Board of Regents; they at least have a sense of timing. As the Republican Legislature considers breaking another promise and cutting the Opportunity Scholarship for South Dakota high school graduates, the Regents release an impact study on the scholarship program. The Regents highlight these facts:
  1. Since program inception in 2004, a smaller percentage of students in our public universities have needed remedial math and English courses.
  2. More South Dakota HS grads are scoring 24 or better on the ACT.
  3. Our universities are keeping more high-achieving students into their fourth year of studies.
The full report offers some specific numbers by university. We learn, for instance, that DSU draws the lowest share of Opportunity Scholars out of the pool attending public universities:

Participating Institution BHSU DSU NSU SDSMT SDSU USD Total Regental
2004-05 36 23 30 64 339 201 693
2005-06 52 30 35 77 361 172 727
2006-07 56 46 45 72 387 204 810
2007-08 61 48 53 101 459 239 961
2008-09 65 36 50 97 484 228 960
2009-10 52 45 51 92 471 205 916
6 Year Total 322 228 264 503 2501 1249 5067
6 Year % 5.24% 3.71% 4.30% 8.19% 40.71% 20.33% 82.47%
6yr% of RegSys 6.35% 4.50% 5.21% 9.93% 49.36% 24.65% 100.00%
South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship
Recipients Funded Across First Five Academic Years
Source: South Dakota Board of Regents

I dug up the fall enrollment numbers and found that DSU has the second-lowest proportion of Opportunity Scholars among this year's freshmen. Only Black Hills State has a smaller percentage of Opportunity Scholars among the class of 2013.

School 2009-10
BHSU 5.0%
DSU 8.2%
NSU 9.9%
SDSMT 19.4%
SDSU 14.9%
USD 10.2%
Total Regental 11.8%
Opportunity Scholarship Recipients
as Percentage of Incoming Freshmen

In a survey of Opportunity Scholarship recipients from the first two years of the program (the ones who've had time to graduate and head for the real world), 68% of respondents said they were staying South Dakota for work or grad school. The state drawing the largest chunk (5%) of our sharpest grads is Nebraska (mostly thanks to grad school at UNL or Creighton). But 32% of our Opportunity Scholarship recipients who get South Dakota degrees go elsewhere.

Student perceptions of the impact of the Opportunity Scholarship give a mixed picture. Consider the responses to these two questions in the BOR survey:
  • Receiving the Opportunity Scholarship was a critical factor in my choice to attend an institution in South Dakota.
    • Disagree: 104(20%)
    • Neutral: 127(26%)
    • Agree: 268(54%)
  • I would have attended an institution outside of South Dakota without the financial support I received from the scholarship program.
    • Disagree: 254(51%)
    • Neutral: 141(28%)
    • Agree: 104(21%)
The responses seem to contradict each other. At least some students are saying the scholarship was "critical" to choosing a South Dakota institution... but that they would have attended a South Dakota school regardless. Hmm....

1 comment:

  1. CAH-

    The responses to the first question may indicate that the scholarship is critical when the decision is whether to attend a university or not due to financial constraint. The response to the second question may confirm this because even without the scholarship, attending an out of state school is quite expensive so even without the scholarship it wouldn't be financially possible.


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.