Bank of North Dakota gives students jump start on college

The Bank of North Dakota helps students afford dual credit classes and college through various programs including paying for dual credit classes, paying college application fees and providing matching funds for college savings accounts.

In one of the programs, students can get up to two dual credit courses per school year paid for by the bank, which covers tuition and fees, books and application fee.

"Approved students would be sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school ... To qualify, the student must be eligible for free or reduced price lunch," said Tom Ternes, education market manager at BND.

Students interested in the gaining this financial assistance should contact their school counselor.

In the 2017-2018 school year, the bank funded 690 classes, 723 in 2016-2017 and 746 for the 2015-2016 school year.


"It's a very worthwhile and important program for the neediest students who probably wouldn't have the opportunity to take those courses without some type of assistance," Ternes said.

The federal government used to pay for the dual credit assistance program, but the grant ended in 2015.

"The bank has continued to offer the program, because we think it's just a great resource for some of those individuals in North Dakota who maybe can't afford to do dual credit classes. We don't want kids to have that disadvantage because of their finances at home," Ternes said.

The Bank of North Dakota also offers the College SAVE program with a new baby match.

"The new baby match is where we will match one time up to $200, so if a person opens up an account for a newborn before they turn one year old (and) if they put $200 into that College SAVE program, the bank will match $200," Ternes said.

There is no income requirement for that match. The bank also offers the BND match, which does have an income requirement.

"Within one year of having that account open — but it's got to be before that individual turns 15 years old — we'll match up to $300 if a person puts $300 in. On that one, there are some income parameters. Families ... gross income has to be under $120,000. If you're a single filer, then it's got to be under $80,000," he said. "I think they say at least 2/3 are usually eligible."

Families can apply for both, so there is a potential to get $500 in matching funds from the bank for your child's college fund.


BND is the state chapter for Dollars for Scholars , which gives out scholarships for people to go to college.

"We are really there to support all of the local chapters. We can be a reference point for them ... We also give them opportunities to earn some money that we will give them to put into their local chapters. In addition to that, we give out about $50,000 in scholarships at a statewide level," Ternes said.

Through that chapter, the bank gave out $96,500 in scholarships last year. In the last 10 years, it has given out over $1 million worth of scholarships.

"Those aren't all the bank funds ... A lot of those scholarships that we give out are through people who have set up endowments ... All the interest that it's made per year is given out in scholarships, so it kind of helps make it long-lasting," Ternes said.

The bank also provides student loans and consolidates student loans. It will also pay for the first and last test for people getting their GED.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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