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March 13, 2018 05:16 PM

Home School Family Fights For Equal Scholarship Opportunity

Sioux Falls

The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship grants $6,500 to students with a 24 on their ACT--but that's only for public and private school students. 

Home school students are held to a different standard. 

Kids who are home schooled need to get a 28 on their ACT in order to qualify for the Opportunity Scholarship. That's because the state doesn't recognize the curriculum taught in home schools as part of the approved coursework requirement for the scholarship. 

His GPA is near perfect.  His ACT score is nearly four points higher than the South Dakota state average.  But that's still not enough for the Cole Christian to get the Opportunity Scholarship. 

"The South Dakota State Opportunity Scholarship, because I'm a home schooler, we're not allowed to get it unless we get a 28 on the ACT," Cole said. 

That's four points higher than what public and private school students need to get the same scholarship.

"We decided to home school because we really like the lifestyle it gives our family," Julie Christian said. 

A decision the Christians didn't know would cost them a scholarship. 

"It just doesn't make sense. We're students; we take the ACT. We should be able to receive the same opportunities as any other student in South Dakota," Cole said. 

So, Cole decided to do something about it. 

Most 18-year-olds probably don't know who their local legislators are. 

Cole met with them for coffee.  And then found himself lobbying his case in Pierre with Senate Bill 94

The bill lowers the ACT requirement for home schooled students to match traditional schooling requirements. 

"So that whether you're private schooled, public schooled or home schooled, you have the same opportunity to receive the scholarship," Julie said. 

This family isn't asking for special treatment.  They just want to be held to the same standard as every other student in South Dakota. 

Senate Bill 94 passed in the legislature and has been delivered to Governor Dennis Daugaard. 

We reached out to Daugaard's office and a spokesperson tell us the governor won't be signing or vetoing any legislation until next week.

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