National University launches scholarship program

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SAN DIEGO — National University launched its $250,000 Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program Friday by announcing the program’s first cohort of 10 students.

The scholarship program was formed last year after businessman and philanthropist Denny Sanford donated $30 million to the Horatio Alger Association to establish scholarship programs at 13 universities around the country. National University’s program will make $2.5 million in financial aid available to students over the next decade.

“We are beyond grateful that the Horatio Alger Association and Mr. Sanford have made this scholarship program available to our students,” National University President David Andrews said. “Our students bring a great diversity of experience and backgrounds to the educational experience we offer at National University and we are pleased to be able to recognize them in this very special way.”

The program’s 10 cohorts include a pair of San Diego County residents: Amber Schimke from Alpine and Anelise Smosna from El Cajon. The other eight students come from cities throughout the state, including Sacramento, Manteca and Murrieta.

Students in the cohort must be enrolled full-time in a bachelor’s degree program at the university, demonstrate their financial need, be under age 28 and have at least two more years until they complete their degree. Each student will receive a $25,000 scholarship to be dispersed over three years.

Sanford, the founder and owner of First Premier Bank and a La Jolla resident, has repeatedly stated his intent to “die broke” and donated millions to local nonprofits and educational institutions like National University and UC San Diego.

According to NU, he has donated more than $1.6 billion throughout his life to projects that are intended to improve society. Forbes estimates Sanford’s net worth at roughly $2.6 billion.

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