Williston State College

WILLISTON — Williston State College has announced that all Williams County high school graduates will be able to go to WSC for free through a scholarship.

The scholarship, announced Thursday, will pay for all tuition, books and fees. The program will start in the fall 2015 semester and is open to any full-time student with a diploma from an accredited Williams County high school.

“WSC is very excited to offer the Williams County Graduate Scholarship to local high school graduates,” said Terry Olson, executive director of the WSC Foundation and interim president.“This new opportunity is the result of a cooperative effort between the Alva J. Field Memorial Trust, WSC Foundation and North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund. We look forward to implementing the scholarship next fall.”

The scholarship money is coming from the Alva J Field Trust, WSC Foundation and the N.D. Higher Ed Challenge Fund, which was made to stimulate the spirit of philanthropy for North Dakota's colleges and universities. The fund allows for every $2 in eligible private donations to be matched with $1 of state funding.

“This is private and public working together for Williams County,” said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley at WSC's announcement Thursday.

The Alva J. Field Memorial Trust donated $1 million in scholarship funds. The state matched with $500,000. The Alva J. Field Memorial was established by widow Maude Field in memory of her late husband Alva J. Field. In her will, she placed her farm land in a trust for the proceeds to be used to help educate young adult graduates from Williams County. The farm's land value has grown exponentially with Bakken oil production. Rising land value has allowed the trust to donate vast amounts of money to Williams County students.

The scholarship can be used by potential students no matter how long ago they graduated from a Williams County high school. High school GPA will not factor into receiving the scholarship. While attending WSC, Williams County scholarship students must keep a 2.0 GPA to keep the scholarship and have a minimum of 12 credits a semester.

The deadline to sign up for the scholarship is May 1, 2015

Olson said while the scholarship will help bring more money to Williams County students, it will also free up money for the WSC Foundation to use toward students from surrounding counties.

“This is a very big positive,” he said. “It will allow us to free up money to help students in other counties.”

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