PIERRE, South Dakota (STL.News) I recently had the privilege of hearing from two impressive young South Dakota college students. Hattie Seten is the Students’ Association President at South Dakota State University, and she was recently selected to be a Rhodes Scholar. Abuk Jiel is the President of the University of South Dakota Student Government Association. They’re both hard-working, incredibly articulate, and both come from low-income families.
Hattie and Abuk told me their stories at a very special event: I had the privilege to sign SB 171, which funds $50 million for the South Dakota Freedom Scholarship. These funds will work with $150 million in private donations ($125 million have already been pledged!) to create an endowment for a needs-based scholarship in South Dakota.
Once established, this endowment will perpetually create opportunities for thousands of students like Hattie and Abuk to go to college. So many of these bright young South Dakotans just need an opportunity to succeed. I challenged the legislature to approve this funding so that we could provide just such an opportunity, and I am so glad that they followed through.
Let’s be clear – this isn’t a free handout. These students need to graduate, and then live and work in South Dakota for at least 3 years after their graduation.