Money will surface, officials promise

Justin R. Lessman

Justin R. Lessman

Though last fall’s freshman enrollment was the largest in SDSU history, and admissions estimates for next year are even larger, there will be no problem in securing money to cover Jackrabbit Guarantees, top university and Foundation officials said.

“If you’re asking me if the money is in the bank, my answer is no,” said Bob Miller, the SDSU Foundation Board member who spearheaded the program. “But, we don’t have any doubt that the Foundation will be able to secure the necessary funds without difficulty.”

“This program has been carefully thought through,” said Carol Peterson, SDSU vice president for Academic Affairs. “Projections were made annually and long-term to be able to handle this smoothly.”

The Jackrabbit Guarantee, a $1,000, renewable scholarship, was instituted last fall. The scholarship is offered to every first-time freshman with an ACT score of 24 or above. Students can renew the scholarship for up to four years by taking 30 credit hours each academic year and keeping a grade point average of 2.5 or better.

SDSU President Peggy Miller said the scholarship program began as a way to enhance SDSU’s tradition of support and excellence, as well as to ensure the continued quality of students and the university.

“It guarantees our students that if they do well, they will have support,” she said.

The program, as evidenced by record freshman enrollment and massive on-campus housing shortages, appears to have been a success. Boosted by freshman numbers, total SDSU enrollment showed a 6.4 percent increase over last year, pushing student numbers to nearly 10,000. Additionally, on-campus residence halls are at 101.4 percent capacity, fueling residence hall changes and new housing alternatives.

“The program proved very successful,” Bob Miller said. “More successful than what we had thought it would be, and that’s nice to see.”

The next step is to secure funds to cover the scholarships, he said.

“We have a number of campaigns in the works right now and the results have been very good,” he said.

A current campaign in Sioux Falls is soliciting funds from alumni and friends of SDSU. Another here in Brookings is looking to industry and business leaders. A continuing fundraising program is the SDSU phone-a-thon.

The phone-a-thon, named Phone Jacks, is manned by students who systematically call alumni of SDSU.

Bob Miller said the scholarship campaign has been successful so far.

These various money-raising campaigns, along with the dedication of the Foundation staff, will ensure the success of the scholarship program, Miller said.

“We feel very, very comfortable that the Foundation will be able to cover it,” he said. “The money will not be a problem.”

Peterson said that stems from wise planning on the part of the Foundation.

“This plan was well-thought through,” she said. “While it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the money is in hand, it does mean that nobody is frantically scrambling around. If you are a student on the Jackrabbit Guarantee program, you are going to get it. Period.”