National University System headquarters in Torrey Pines. Courtesy of the university system

National University announced the first cohort of students Friday for its Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship program.

Philanthropist Denny Sanford donated $30 million to the Horatio Alger Association to establish scholarship programs at 13 universities. National University’s program includes $2.5 million in aid 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.

The program’s first 10 honorees 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 and demonstrate financial need. They also must be under age 28 and have at least two more years until they complete their degree.

Each student will receive a $25,000 scholarship 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.” He has 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. Forbes estimates Sanford’s net worth at roughly $2.6 billion.

– City News Service

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