Rising Scholars Program

Through NSU's Rising Scholars program, high school students can earn credit toward high school graduation and a college degree at the same time!
  • Save money - up to 88 percent of self-support tuition
  • Get an early start on college courses while in high school
  • Graduate from college earlier
  • College-level courses in many disciplines are available through Rising Scholars, including mathematics, English, history, biology, chemistry, and speech communications.

Rising Scholars classes are taught at participating high schools

High school on-site classes are taught by qualified high school instructors who also are qualified as NSU adjunct faculty. Qualified instructors will have a master's degree in the course discipline or a master's degree plus 18 graduate credits in the course discipline.

NSU and high school Rising Scholars instructors will meet regularly and work collaboratively to develop and implement curriculum. NSU faculty also support and evaluate the high school Rising Scholars instructors. Rising Scholars Program instructors also complete annual discipline-specific professional development.


AccreditationNational Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships

The NSU Rising Scholars Program received accreditation from the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) on May 1, 2017.  NACEP is the sole accrediting agency for concurrent enrollment.  The Rising Scholars Program met the 17 standards that NACEP requires to meet accreditation.  Standards are set up to ensure quality in the areas of curriculum, faculty, student services, assessment and evaluation.  Visit www.nacep.org for more information.


Credits are Transferable

RSP credits are accepted by all South Dakota regental universities and most institutions outside the state. Students are responsible for consulting with the institution of their choice regarding transferability of credits earned. The final course grade will appear on an NSU transcript. Students can request an official transcript at Transcripts and Diplomas.

Students may choose to take the AP exam in addition to receiving college credit from NSU.



Qualified students should follow these easy steps to register:

  • Complete and submit the NSU Rising Scholars Registration Form. Upon submission, a confirmation message will be sent to the email address listed in the K12 email address field.
  • Print the registration form, sign, get a parent/guardian signature, then deliver to your high school Rising Scholars teacher/coordinator. The high school is responsible for submitting the registration form to NSU.

For more information or help with registration, contact NSU Rising Scholars Director Terry Piatz or a participating high school.


High School On-site 2018-2019 Course Offerings

Art 121 Design I 2D  - 3 credits
Emphasizes the organization of visual elements and principles while exploring creative thought processes through art theory, concepts, material, and techniques.
Biology 151 (BIOL 151) - General Biology I - 4 credits
The introductory course for those majoring in biology and microbiology. Presents the concepts or cell biology, evolution, heredity, molecular genetics and ecology. Co-requisite: BIOL 151L
Biology 151L (BIOL 151L) - General Biology I Lab - 0 credits
Laboratory experience that accompanies BIOL 151. Co-requisite: BIOL 151
Biology 153 (BIOL 153) - General Biology II - €€4 creditsA continuation of BIOL 151 , the introductory course for those majoring in biology and microbiology. Presents the concepts of animal and plant structure and function, energetics, and reproduction. Prerequisite: BIOL 151 Co-requisite: BIOL 153L
Biology 153L (BIOL 153L) - General Biology II Lab - 0 credits
Laboratory experience that accompanies BIOL 153. Co-requisite: BIOL 153
Chemistry 106 (CHEM 106) - Chemistry Survey -3 credits
A one-semester survey of chemistry. Not intended for those needing an extensive chemistry background. Introduction to the properties of matter, atomic structure, bonding, stoichiometry, kinetics, equilibrium, states of matter, solutions, and acid-base concepts. Prerequisite: MATH 101 , MATH 102 , MATH 115 , MATH 120 , MATH 121 , MATH 123 or MATH 125 Co-requisite: CHEM 106LCHEM 106/106L Rising Scholars Prerequisite Exception: Two years of high school algebra (1 year of Algebra I and one-year of Algebra II) and a high school trigonometry course (which may be taken concurrently) satisfy the MATH 101 prerequisite.
Chemistry 106L (CHEM 106L) - Chemistry Survey Lab - 1 credit
Laboratory designed to accompany CHEM 106
English 101 (ENGL 101) Composition I - 3
credits Practice in the skills, research, and documentation needed for the effective academic writing. Analysis of a variety of academic and non-academic texts, rhetorical structures, critical thinking, and audience will be included. Prerequisite: Placement test score or satisfactory completion of ENGL 033
English 210 (ENGL 210) Introduction to Literature - 3 credits
Readings in fiction, drama, and poetry to acquaint students with literature and aesthetic form. Prerequisite: ENGL 101 3 credits
History 121 (HIST 121) - Western Civilization I - 3 credits
Surveys the evolution of western civilization from its beginnings into the Reformation and religious wars. 3 credits
History 122 (HIST 122) - Western Civilization II - 3 credits
Surveys the development of western civilization from the Reformation era to the present. 3 credits
History 151 (HIST 151) - U.S. History I - 3 credits
Surveys the background and development of the United States from its colonial origins to the Civil War and Reconstruction.
History 152 (HIST 152) - U.S. History II - 3
credits Surveys development of the United States since the Civil War and Reconstruction
Math 102 (MATH 102) - College Algebra - 3 credits
Equations and inequalities; polynomial functions and graphs, exponents, radicals, binomial theorem, zeros of polynomials; systems of equations; exponential, logarithmic, and inverse functions, applications and graphs. Other topics selected from sequences, series, and complex numbers. Prerequisite: MATH 101 minimum grade C or appropriate math placement
Math 123 (MATH 123) - Calculus I - 4 credits
The study of limits, continuity, derivatives, applications of the derivative, antiderivatives, the definite and indefinite integral, and the fundamental theorem of calculus. Prerequisite: MATH 102 , MATH 115 , MATH 120 or appropriate math placement

Speech & Communication 101 (SPCM 101) - Fundamentals of Speech - 3 credits

Introduces the study of speech fundamentals and critical thinking through frequent public speaking practice, including setting, purpose, audience, and subject.


Eligibility Requirements

A Rising Scholars-eligible student must be a:

High school junior eligible to enroll in a high school in South Dakota who meets one of the following requirements:

  • Has achieved an ACT composite score of 24 reflective of the 70% percentile; or
  • Ranks in upper one-third of their graduating class; or
  • Has earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale;


High school senior eligible to enroll in a high school in South Dakota who meets one of the following requirements:

  • Has achieved an ACT composite score of 21 reflective of the 50% percentile; or
  • Ranks in the upper one-half of their graduating class; or
  • Has earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale;


Must have taken one of the assessments below and achieved the required score(s):

  • 10th Grade ACT Aspire Summative Assessment - (score 434 or higher)
  • ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills - (Score 86 or higher AND elementary algebra €“ Score 76 or higher)

Registration in English and math courses will require placement according to ACT/SAT/ACCUPLACER/SmarterBalance test scores.


Math Index Score Calculator

The South Dakota Board of Regents requires that placement for math classes be based on a minimum Math Index (MI) Score. The MI is a calculation of students' ACT Math score and Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Below is an MI Calculator, provided as an initial “unofficial” indicator of students' placement eligibility. Enter the ACT Math score and current CGPA in the corresponding fields below. Next to each math course there is a Yes/No field. A “YES” response indicates the student may be eligible for placement. The official MI calculation will be completed by NSU at registration.


MI Score Calculation


Rights and responsibilities

Rising Scholars students have all rights and responsibilities of NSU students. For more information, see the NSU Catalog and NSU Student Handbook.

For direct access to detailed information, see the topic links below:

Cost and Payment

Students are responsible for paying tuition for Rising Scholar courses. Rising Scholars students pay $40 per credit hour ($120 for a 3-credit course and $160 for a 4-credit course). Tuition payments are due no later than published fall/spring census dates. Payments may be submitted via SDePay (electronic check or credit card) in a student's Self-Service Banner account, or mailed to NSU Office of Continuing Education: 1200 S. Jay St., Aberdeen, S.D. 57401.

Students/high schools are responsible for textbook and lab costs.


Rising Scholars Program Evaluation

Participating students may provide feedback on the Rising Scholars courses and program. Student feedback is crucial to help ensure the program meets participating students' educational needs. When you receive the notification to participate in the evaluations below, please respond.

1. A student evaluation is available for every course. The course evaluations are administered by participating high school administrators.

2. High school graduates who participated in Rising Scholars courses will receive a survey within one year after high school graduation. The survey will be announced via email to the personal email address provided on the Rising Scholars registration form. The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey provides feedback critical to guiding Rising Scholars program improvement, and assesses student satisfaction with the program.

3. Randomly selected Rising Scholars students will receive a survey four years after high school graduation. The four-year survey feedback is needed to evaluate long-term benefits to Rising Scholars participants.


Course Cancellation and Enrollment Levels

Rising Scholars classes may be cancelled prior to the individual Rising Scholars course established Census Date. More than 50 percent of the students enrolled in the high school class must be registered for college credit. Classes are subject to minimum enrollments (eight students).


Disability Services

Individual high schools participating in the NSU Rising Scholars program are responsible for providing disability services required by students enrolled in Rising Scholars Courses. Students will need to follow their high school's disability services policy.


The Rising Scholars Program is not associated with the Advanced Placement (AP) program or the NSU Center for Statewide E-Learning.