The North Dakota Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that would give scholarships to students taking certain dual-credit courses in high school.

If signed into law, the legislation would create a $1.5 million scholarship fund for students taking dual-credit courses.

The bill, HB 1375, passed the Senate by a vote of 44-3.

To be eligible to receive a scholarship, a student must be enrolled and have completed at least one term at a public, private or tribal college or university in the state and have graduated from a high school in state or in a bordering state. Eligible students also would need to complete at least one dual-credit course provided by a North Dakota University System institution while in high school. The scholarship also would be available to homeschooled students.

Eligible students who attend a school within the university system would get a scholarship equal to 50% of the cost of the dual-credit courses, up to $750. The scholarship cannot exceed the cost of tuition and fees.

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Sen. Donald Schaible, R-Mott, said the state has different types of dual-credit programs, some that are paid for by the school, others that are paid in part by the state. This program gives students the opportunity to earn a scholarship so long as they meet the requirements.

“It's a wonderful program that you can get college credit while you're doing high school courses,” he said of the dual credit program.

Schaible said the state is budgeted for more than $55 million in scholarships during the biennium, and that amount is continuing to grow.

The bill also includes a legislative study of the state’s scholarship programs to see which programs are working and which ones may need improvement.