Scholarships should be offered to all students

Scholarships should be offered to all students By Robert G. Duffett, DWU President Congratulations to Gov. Janklow for proposing his visionary scholarship program. However, with his proposal, some of South Dakota's best and brightest students will be left behind.

As the Legislature debates the merit of Gov. Janklow's proposal, I suggest expanding the Regents Scholarship program to include those students who choose South Dakota's private schools as well. Why would we not want to increase educational opportunities? Why exclude those students who choose an accredited private college in the state of South Dakota?

This program can be a triple win.

* Students will receive money to further their education.

* South Dakota wins by tangibly encouraging our brightest students to attend colleges and technical institutes in the state.

* South Dakota students who attend college in South Dakota are more likely to stay in our state; those who attend college out of state are less likely to return.

Great ideas, often from the college classroom, drive economic expansion; college-educated South Dakotans will be tomorrow's nurses, physicians, teachers, attorneys, business leaders and politicians. These people will drive the future of South Dakota, therefore, this scholarship program is truly an economic development investment in our state.

The five private colleges of South Dakota, Presentation College in Aberdeen, Mount Marty College in Yankton, Augustana College and the University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, and Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, have well served this region since before South Dakota was even a state.

Yes, we are private universities, but we are committed to the public good of South Dakota. Yes, we take seriously the various expressions of our Christian heritage, but students, faculty and staff come from multiple religious groups and some from no religious groups at all. And, yes, we believe in offering a character-building, high quality education that fosters enduring values.

Scores of South Dakotans attest to the valuable undergraduate education they received from South Dakota private colleges and universities. Our graduates effectively lead in medicine, education, law and virtually all occupations vital to South Dakota.

For the sake of educational options for students and their families, excellent undergraduate education, and competition, I encourage the Legislature to pass Governor Janklow's Regents Scholarship proposal. And, to broaden the educational opportunities for our South Dakota students, allow those scholarships to be used by students who choose any accredited public or private South Dakota university, college or technical school

Let us not leave anyone behind.

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