ND Career Builders

The 2019 North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed House Bill 1171, creating a skilled workforce scholarship and student loan repayment program aimed at attracting people into high need and emerging occupations in the state. The result is the ND Career Builders Scholarship & Loan Repayment program. The North Dakota University System (NDUS) and institutions across the state, along with agency partners including the ND Workforce Development Council, ND Commerce Department, the Bank of North Dakota, and Job Service of North Dakota are promoting this opportunity for students, employees, and businesses. The program targets the workforce needs of North Dakota with the goal of recruiting and retaining talent in skilled workforce jobs.

Scholarship & Loan Repayment Overview

The ND Career Builders scholarship and loan repayment program is a unique partnership between the state and private-sector business, whereby for each dollar of private support received, the state will contribute a dollar of public funding.


If interested in the scholarship, individuals should contact the college financial aid office to discuss the program PRIOR to completing the application.  The financial aid office will be able to determine if the program of study qualifies and if private funds exist. They will also walk the student through the program requirements and begin the application process.


If interested in loan repayment, employers and employees should discuss the loan repayment program to determine if it is a fit.  If opportunities exist, the employee and employer should complete the loan repayment application jointly.  Private-sector funds must exist in order for the state dollars to be matched.


Businesses and individuals interested in investing in ND Career Builders to fill skilled workforce positions in the state can donate matching dollars toward the scholarship or loan repayment program.  These donations will be matched by the state dollar for dollar!


  • Matching business dollars can be designated for a specific institution, a specific program of study, or for a specific student or employee.
  • Matching individual donor donations may be applied to specific institutions and specific programs, but not to specific students or employees.


Donations will be accepted for both the scholarship and loan repayment programs by the NDUS, or donors can work directly with institutions to provide the matching private sector dollars for the benefit of the ND Career Builders program. The maximum public support is $3 million for each program.  Awards will be made until funds are exhausted.  Click here to donate!

High Need and Emerging Occupations List

The High-Need and Emerging Occupations List is what drives the program as it establishes the occupations in ND that are in high demand.  The Workforce Development Council (WDC) and ND Job Service establish the qualifying high-need and emerging occupations annually around July 1st.  The North Dakota University System (NDUS) and WDC map the qualifying occupations to qualifying programs.  Qualifying programs may be certificates or degrees earned from qualifying ND institutions.


The length of the qualifying educational programs is different for the scholarship vs the loan repayment program.  Qualifying programs for the scholarship are those of around 4 semesters or 6 quarters or less in length, essentially, associates level and below, including certificate programs.  Qualifying programs for loan repayment may be any certificate or degree from a ND institution, provided it relates to one of the high-need and emerging occupations.


SCHOLARSHIP LIST:  Click here to access the ND Career Builders SCHOLARSHIP High Need and Emerging Occupations list.


LOAN REPAYMENT LIST: Click here to access the ND Career Builders LOAN REPAYMENT High Need and Emerging Occupations list.

Scholarship Program Details

  • Students must be admitted into a qualifying program in the state. Not all programs will have funding available to award.
  • The institution will initiate the scholarship application process. NDUS will confirm final eligibility based on program guidelines and availability of funds.
  • Payments may not exceed the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies up to a lifetime maximum of $17,000.
  • Payments will be made on a semester, quarter or term basis. Since this is a public-private program, payments will only be made if the private-sector match is received.
  • Recipients have the obligation to reside and work (in a high need or emerging occupation) in North Dakota for at least 3 years following program completion.
  • Students accepted into the program will be required to sign a Scholarship Award Agreement, which will be legally binding.
  • Failure to meet the terms of the Agreement will result in the scholarship funds being repaid by the student.
  • Repayment of the funds received could be triggered by:
    • Failure to enroll full time according to program requirements;
    • Failure to maintain a 2.50 cumulative GPA, or other academic progress;
    • Withdrawing from the program prior to completion, either voluntarily or involuntarily;
    • Failing to meet the residency and occupation requirements for 3 years following program completion.

Loan Repayment Details

  • Graduates of qualifying programs apply for the program by completing an application with the NDUS.
  • Applicants newly hired into their current position in 2019 or later will be considered.
  • Applicants will be required to provide proof of ND residency, employment verification, proof of degree completion, and a current student loan billing statement from the lender.
  • An applicant’s employer, or other business entity, must have committed matching dollars. Payments will not be made without matching dollars being received by NDUS.
  • Payments may not exceed $5,667 per year, or one-third of the applicant’s outstanding student loan principal balance at the time of application, whichever is less.  Maximum eligibility is $17,000.
  • Eligible loans include FEDERAL Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Consolidated and Perkins loans, the Bank of ND DEAL Loan, and other private alternative student loans.  Other private loan/debt that is not a “student loan”, such as  home equity, credit card debt, or other consolidated debt that is no longer a “student loan”, will not be considered.
  • Recipients must reside and work in a high need or emerging occupation in North Dakota.
  • Eligibility will be verified prior to each payment.

Apply Here

  • SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS:  Interested individuals should first review the High-Need and Emerging Occupations List to determine if the program and institution are listed  and then, PRIOR to starting the application, visit with the financial aid office at the college.  The college will direct students regarding eligibility for the program as well as the application process.

 STOP!!  Do not start the application process without first confirming your eligibility with your campus contact.

    • STEP 1:  Visit with your campus contact (usually financial aid) to determine if your program qualifies and if private sector dollars are available for the required match.  Locate your school contact here
    • STEP 2:  ONLY AFTER BEING APPROVED BY YOUR CAMPUS – Click here to apply for the ND Career Builders Scholarship program.
    • STEP 3:  Watch for subsequent emails to complete the entire application process, including the legally-binding Scholarship Award Agreement.


  • LOAN REPAYMENT APPLICATION PROCESS:  Individuals interested in loan repayment can contact the NDUS at ndfinaid@ndus.edu  or at 701-328-2906 with questions on the application and how to proceed.
    • Click here to download the application for the ND Career Builders Loan Repayment program.  The employee and employer should complete the application together and mail it to the NDUS.  Remember, you must have matching private-sector funds available to qualify.

Donate Here

Thank you for your donation to the ND Career Builders Scholarship & Loan Repayment Program. Your contribution will help grow business across North Dakota by filling positions that are in high-demand in the state, possibly even your own! Students will also benefit through access and affordability, and reduced loan indebtedness.  This is a win-win for business and students!


  • Your contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the state up to $8,500 total per recipient.


  • Payments will be accepted directly by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) on behalf of the program. Donors may also contact a participating college in ND to inquire on how to contribute toward this program through the college or foundation.



If you have additional questions, please contact the NDUS at ndfinaid@ndus.edu or at 701-328-2906.

Resources for Institutions and Businesses

The following resources were developed for businesses and institutions to use in the promotion of the ND Career Builders scholarship and loan repayment.  Please feel free to download and share the documents and information provided.

For more information on ND Career Builders scholarship and loan repayment, please contact the NDUS at 701-328-2906 or at ndfinaid@ndus.edu