Augustana University will now provide a new academic program tailored to meet the growing needs of South Dakota’s booming banking industry.

“I think it’s very important to at least know the basics of computer science and coding and statistics and things like that,” Augustana Senior Harley Tran said.

Tran is majoring in Finance and accounting and is getting her minor in computer science.

“Any job in banking, accounting or finance, it requires a certain amount of statistics, and computer, tech savviness,” Tran said.

“Finance is changing, technology is changing finance, so what better way to do that than here,” Ray Leach, Augustana University’s Director of Financial Technology said.

It’s why Augustana University is now adding a Fintech or Financial technology degree starting this fall.

“I think we’re the 4th in the nation to be offering an actual fintech major, we’re going to be very focused on what that means to Sioux Falls for our financial system,” Leach said.

This new fintech program was inspired by local businesses who are hoping to have more Augie graduates who will stay to work in Sioux Falls.

“Where there’s a direct line of student talent to these organizations in town,” Leach said.

Leaders from Pathward, formerly MetaBank, approached Augustana about creating the program and director Roy Leech built Augie’s new fintech degree around the needs of many local banking organizations. Augustana University says its Fintech Program by Pathward is supported by a team of corporations serving as an advisory board including MarketBeat, The Bancorp, CAPITAL Services, Goal Solutions, PREMIER Bankcard and Central Payments, as well as Pathward.

“We’ve worked a lot with these companies, I spent a lot of hours over the last six months interviewing these companies to figure out what skill sets they want to see out of their graduates.

Skills that will help students like Tran be even more marketable graduates in the future.

“Even if you don’t want to look a job specifically in fintech, taking fintech classes will definitely help in whatever you do for a job,” Tran said.

Augustana’s Fintech program will combine some finance and computer science classes along with adding three new courses specifically for fintech majors. The first course is set to be offered in Fall 2023 with the first class of fintech graduates coming in 2027.