First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard announced today it was adding $50 million to the Freedom Scholarship endowment, South Dakota’s first public/private partnership for a needs-based scholarship. The announcement came nearly two years following PREMIER’s initial gift of $100 million to launch the initiative.
The scholarship program has now reached $225 million with additional gifts from Avera Health, Sanford Health and the State of South Dakota. The funds are managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation and the Freedom Scholarship Board of Directors.
First PREMIER Bank CEO Dana Dykhouse, who also serves on the Freedom Scholarship Board of Directors, said the program has been a tremendous success and that South Dakota students are already benefiting from the growing endowment.”
“About 1,276 students accepted Freedom Scholarships during its first year,” Dykhouse said. “The awards ranged from $1,500 to $5,000 and each allowed a South Dakota student to pursue his or her dreams. It truly made a difference in the lives of many, and I could not be prouder of the organizations that stepped up and made this program happen.”
Earlier this year, the Freedom Scholarship announced an initial allocation of $5.1 million to be distributed to eligible South Dakota institution, beginning in the fall of 2022. Two months into the fall semester, the scholarship’s impact is being realized by South Dakota students who need it most.
“This scholarship has allowed me to have a lot more financial freedom and is very amazing because it helps more than just Sioux Falls – it’s the community of South Dakota, “ said SDSU student and Sioux Falls Washington graduate Merci Arbach. “I don’t actually have words to express my gratitude other than thank you,” Arbach added.
The Freedom Scholarship is a statewide effort to encourage students of all economic backgrounds to live and work in South Dakota after graduation. Students or parents interested in learning more should visit freedomscholarshipsd.com or talk to one of the 11 participating South Dakota colleges and universities.
“PREMIER’s earlier contributions to this Scholarship and their commitment today are incredible for our state’s young people seeking baccalaureate degrees.” said Elli Haerter, Freedom Scholarship Coordinator. ”I hope other businesses and organizations in South Dakota will join this effort to support need-based scholarships that build our future workforce and invite our graduates to stay here and make South Dakota even better,” Haerter added.
The Freedom Scholarship endowment was created in the 2021 Legislative session. Senate Bill 171 initially authorized $50 million to be allocated to the Freedom Scholarship endowment. In partnership with First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, T. Denny Sanford, and other private donors, the fund is now at more than $225 million in commitments.
Learn more here: https://www.freedomscholarship...