Senate passes need-based scholarship program (audio)
By Jackelyn Severin
The South Dakota Senate passed a measure establishing a need-based grant program. Currently, South Dakota is the only state that does not have a need-based scholarship for university students. For right now House Bill 1240 does not provide a funding source for the scholarship program.
Senator Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls says lawmakers can find a funding source in the future. For now, he says, House Bill 1240 is a good start for a much needed scholarship. He says South Dakota has a low retention rate for college students who come from low income families.
"Studies have shown that students from poorer families are 6 to 7 times less likely to graduate from college than students who have an ability from wealthier families," says Heidepriem.
Senator Bob Gray of Pierre says the state already provides millions of dollars to the public university system.
"Is it enough? Maybe its not. Should some of that money be re-directed to students who need it most? Maybe. Maybe that’s a discussion we should have. But to pass a bill and not have anything on the books as is without putting meat to it, without putting any funding to it, doesn’t make sense to me," says Gray.
House Bill 1240 passed by a vote 24 to 11. It now goes to the Governor.
Member stations can download audio file here.