Dakota’s Promise Scholarship Bill To Be Heard By Senate Appropriations Committee Friday

(WNAX) — A bill that would set up a needs-based scholarship program in South Dakota has been introduced in this year’s legislative session. USD President Sheila Gestring says they know it is a difficult time to ask for money for the “Dakotas Promise” plan…

“It’s an unfortunate year because the revenues are very tight, but I think by virtue of having that bill being introduced there is recognition of a need there. It’ll come down to whether or not the revenues are available to pay for it on an ongoing basis.”
Gestring says their studies show they have lost a number of students due to the lack of this type of scholarship program…

“USD alone has lost over 500 Pell-eligible students over the course of five years. And it’s not just the total count, because I suppose you could argue the number of high school students graduating have gone down. But it’s also the percentage change that’s been fairly dramatic from a low 30% five years ago to 23% now this past year.”
Gestring says the universities would see a good return on whatever money the state puts into it…

“The state proposed amount would be 1250 dollars per student and then each university that enrolls a student is required to match that with privately raised dollars, so that would be 2500 dollars for that student plus their normal…their Pell aid plus whatever work hours they can bring into it and it fills that gap, but yes the 1250 leverages significant dollars if you can imagine paying for tuition and fees coming in.”
The scholarship program would be available to students attending any public or private college in the state. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee today.