SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Today First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard announced they were adding another $50 million to the Freedom Scholarship.
It comes two years after an initial gift of $100 million.
The public-private partnership means hundreds of South Dakota high school students are now getting to realize their dreams of going to college.
Another $50 million donation. That money will go a long way in helping young students get their college degrees.
“This Freedom Scholarship highlights how much we value our South Dakota students,” Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said.
Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin says for many students the Freedom Scholarship influenced their decision to continue their education in South Dakota, like Raena Rost of Madison.
“It’s very exciting to receive it, because I knew I wanted to stay in South Dakota long term, so it was a perfect opportunity and I saw it and applied to it and I ended up getting it,” Rost said.
Rost attends Augustana University and was one of the first recipients of the Freedom Scholarship.
“I was very excited for the opportunity because I knew with all my other scholarships this would be sort of a gap of money that I wanted to have in order for me to attend Augustana,” Rost said.
As part of her commitment, after she graduates, she has to stay working in South Dakota for a minimum of three years.
The Freedom Scholarship is needs-based.
In its first year, the Freedom Scholarship awarded over $5 million to almost 1,300 students at 11 different higher education institutes in the state.
PREMIER Bankcard President and CEO Miles Beacom says the Freedom Scholarship has been a tremendous success.
“We were the only state in the country that did not have a needs-based scholarship and we just see this as a need that’s out there, there are so many kids who don’t believe they don’t have the financial rears to be able to chase their dreams,” Miles Beacom President and CEO of PREMIER Bankcard said.
The state legislature also committed $50 million to the program and Avera and Sanford Health. also donated $25 million.