Every state but South Dakota hands out college money to students based on their inability to pay.
According to David “BFD” Montgomery, a prominent Republican wants to change that. He tweets:
“Sen. Russell Olson (@SDSenateLeader) plans to introduce a bill to create a needs-based scholarship for SD.”
UPDATE: More details in Monty’s blog.
I’ll be curious to see how much money Olson recommends the state spend and where it might come from.
I reported in July that the Board of Regents would not be asking for a need-based scholarship, but they would pursue an increase in the state’s signature merit-based award, the Opportunity Scholarship. They’re asking to make it worth $7,500 per student over four years, up from $5,000.
That would cost about $2.2 million a year.
At the time, I asked BOR Executive Director Jack Warner why they want to put more into the Opportunity Scholarship and not a need-based award.
Warner also wants the state to establish a scholarship for low-income students, but that won’t be part of this year’s budget recommendation. South Dakota remains the only state without a needs-based scholarship, but Warner said it would take between $5 million and $10 million to create such a program with a sufficient reward.
Here’s a summary of state-funded college scholarships from a 2012 National Center for Education Statistics report:
Most state aid is awarded in the form of grants and is based on need. Every state except South Dakota had a need-based grant program in 2007–08. However, 27 states also had programs that made awards based exclusively on academic merit. Of the $8.0 billion that states awarded in grant aid to undergraduates, $5.8 billion was
based on need (NASSGAP 2008). Whereas 16 percent of 2007–08 undergraduates received a state grant, 4 percent received one based only on merit.