Free College Applications for Some SD High School Seniors

November 2, 2017

You might be able to apply to college for free this week, thanks to a new initiative encouraging students to apply to college.

Raymundo Franciscoandres is a senior at Sioux Falls New Technology High School.  He dreams of serving in the National Guard and majoring in graphic design, but with pricey application fees, he was on the fence about applying to college right away.

“I wasn’t exactly sure because it did cost a fee,” said  Franciscoandres. “So I’m like ‘Ah not exactly sure if I want to do this right now. Maybe sometime later down the future,’ but, now that this week was free, totally all for it.”

Students at 80 South Dakota high schools received news that this week they could apply to college for free.

For students like Franciscoandres, this week is “an opportunity.”

“Oh, definitely,” said Franciscoandres. “I feel like it’s not even just in this school, it’s overall. Just like in any high school, you’ll have to deal with having to get a lot of things done in a certain amount of time, and just being able to apply to college for free, relieves it a lot more.”

Here’s how it works: South Dakota has six public universities. This week, students can apply to as many as three of these schools for free. Applications are usually $20 each, so students can save up to $60.

School counselor Vickie Donahoe says she’s been meeting with graduating seniors one-on-one all week.

“When I say ‘It’s free,’ kids, they light up,” said Donahoe.

New Tech, where Donahoe says about a third of students are considered low-income, will be able to participate in South Dakota College Application Week from here on out.

“For me to be able to maybe put a bug in their ear about something they hadn’t heard of, and just kind of seeing the excitement on their face, that’s what I like about it,” said Donahoe.

High schools were selected based on the number of low-income and first generation students, but South Dakota hopes to make the program statewide next year.