College Readiness Courses

South Dakota’s public universities determine a student’s eligibility for college level courses based on ACT English and mathematics sub-scores. Students with an 18 or higher in English and a 20 or higher in mathematics can register for college level coursework. Students whose ACT scores are below this must take what the Board of Regents call “remedial” coursework, for which they receive no credit and must pay full cost.

South Dakota students have a unique opportunity to avoid having to do this remedial coursework by getting it done prior to entering college. The South Dakota Department of Education refers to this as “college readiness coursework” and provides the coursework at low cost to those who are eligible. The college readiness coursework is offered via the South Dakota Virtual School. It is tailored specifically to the student’s skill level, and if successfully completed, will allow students to bypass postsecondary remedial courses and enter directly into a college level course. This remedial coursework costs up to $175. Students may be able to get that cost down to $0 if they pass their coursework.

Despite the cost of this remedial coursework, there are a number of reasons why students might consider this option while still in high school. First, remedial courses at the postsecondary level cost significantly more, approximately $900 for each three-credit course. Also, a postsecondary remedial course is classified as zero-credit, meaning it does not count towards graduation. Finally, students who enter postsecondary prepared to complete college-level courses have proven to be more successful toward earning a degree.