NDACo College Scholarship Fund

The NDACo scholarship program was created in 1998 to assist county families afford college. Children and grandchildren of county officials and employees are eligible to apply. The scholarship fund is supported by corporate sponsors like Nationwide Retirement Solutions and county donors from across the state. Thanks to their generosity, the scholarships have grown from two $500 awards to six $2,000 awards! Thank you to all who contribute!

In 2010, the Amy Svihovec Memorial Scholarship was created in memory of Amy Svihovec, daughter of Linda Svihovec, then Treasurer of McKenzie County (now Auditor/Treasurer). Amy's scholarship has been supported by additional memorial funds of friends and family members, along with a long-term commitment from the Svihovec family.

The 2018 Scholarship application (for the 2018-2019 school year) deadline has passed. 

A selection committee reviews all applications carefully, judging them on community service, personal/professional accomplishments and academics with the emphasis on leadership potential.

If you have any questions about the NDACo Scholarship program, please contact Jeff Eslinger at 800-932-8730 or

Frequently asked questions:

Q: How do you define "county employee or official"
A: Any elected commissioner and all other elected or appointed officials and all employees who are currently on the payroll of a county; in other words, the county writes their paycheck.

Q: Does this include part-time employees?
A: Yes, if they are "permanent part-time." This does not include seasonal employees.

Q: Does this include past employees?
A: No, however if the parent/grandparent is employed at the time the scholarship application is submitted and their employment ends AFTER the application, the application will still be valid. 

Q: Can graduate students apply?
A: No, the scholarship is for undergraduates only.


2017 Scholarship Recipients:

Maverick Coleman
Grandson of Linda Johnson
Ransom County Eligibility Worker

Katelyn Desautel
Daughter of Kelly Desautel Lessard
Walsh County Highway Dept. Administrative Officer

Kelsi Hatzenbuhler
Daughter of Kari Hatzenbuhler
Morton County Deputy Treasurer

Ellyse Milender
Daughter of Susan Milender
Barnes County Extension Agent

Sierra Wenning
Daughter of James Wenning
Mercer County Sheriff’s Dept. Captain

Amy Svihovec Memorial Scholarship

Brett Mortenson
Son of Diane Mortenson
Stark County Social Service Director
University of Mary

To read their essays on county government careers, click the link here or in the left column.


Four High School Seniors will Win $2,500 NACo/Nationwide Scholarships

The National Association of Counties has partnered with Nationwide Retirement Solutions to offer four $2,500 scholarships for high school seniors. Winning applicants will have written a short essay describing why it’s important for a public sector employee to start saving early for retirement.

The Nationwide/NACo scholarship program is intended to encourage high-school seniors to think about retirement.

Why spur high school students, many of whom haven’t even started full-time work, to think about retirement? Three reasons – by applying for the scholarship the students:

  1. May consider the financial impact of their decisions about college and their career and realize it is never too soon to start thinking about saving for retirement.
  2. Begin to recognize the advantage of having a plan and implementing it sooner rather than later.
  3. Identify specific actions that help prepare for a financially successful future.

To be eligible, applicants must be graduating high school seniors who are legal U.S. residents and their parent or grandparent must be enrolled in and contributing to a NACo 457 Deferred Compensation Program plan. In addition, the student must enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study no later than the fall term at an accredited two- or four-year college. Deadline is typically in early March. Click link for details.

The NACo/Nationwide Scholarship is just one of the services arising out of a 33-year relationship between Nationwide and NACo. As provider of the NACo Deferred Compensation Program, Nationwide regularly reports to the NACo Deferred Compensation Advisory Committee on industry trends, updates statistics on the program and provides ongoing education on retirement issues. Together NACo and Nationwide look for ways to help county employees better prepare for their retirement.

For more information about the scholarship

All of the information about eligibility, judging criteria and notification process are on the NACo and Nationwide Web sites. For more information, go to