Freedom Scholarship Fund now totaling $175M signed into law

Gov. Kristi Noem
Gov. Kristi Noem(South Dakota Government)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 3:38 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - South Dakota became the 50th state to establish a needs-based scholarship program for its public universities and select private and tribal schools on Thursday.

On March 18, Gov. Kristi Noem signed into law a piece of legislation dedicating $50 million in taxpayer dollars for the creation of an endowment to support the “Freedom Scholarship.”

The scholarship was made possible by a partnership with Premier Bank and Denny Sanford, who committed a combined $100 million for the scholarship.

Along with the bill’s signing, Noem also said Avera Health and Sanford Health will contribute a combined $25 million to the endowment, bringing the Freedom Scholarship Fund to a total of $175 million.

The Freedom Scholarship funds will be governed by a five-member board selected by the governor, and allocations will be made from the South Dakota Community Foundation directly to each participating school based on enrollment.

Noem says $200 million is still needed to make the fund sustainable for the future.

“We will continue to work hard to raise the final funds to make this project a reality,” Noem said. “Our young South Dakotans deserve nothing less.”

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