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Quad-Cities River Bandits owners Roby Smith and Dave Heller join Black Hawk College president Bettie Truitt in announcing Tuesday a new annual scholarship created through the Bandit Scholars program.

Students at Black Hawk College will now have a chance to benefit from a scholarship and internship opportunity through the Bandit Scholars program.

Quad-Cities River Bandits owners Dave Heller and Roby Smith joined Black Hawk College president Bettie Truitt in announcing Tuesday the addition of Black Hawk to a program which already funds annual scholarships for students attending Augustana, St. Ambrose and the Eastern Iowa Community College campuses.

“Our community is a markedly better place because of the opportunities that exist for students attending Black Hawk College as well as our other partners in the Bandit Scholars program,’’ Heller said. “It’s the largest program of its type in minor-league baseball and we’re proud to help provide the cost of an education and real-world experience that our scholarships provide.’’

Like the scholarships at the other three institutions, the scholarship that will be awarded for the first time next summer will cover one full year of tuition cost and include a paid internship with the Midwest League club the following summer.

At Black Hawk, the scholarship will be available to cover tuition for a second-year student enrolled at either the Moline campus or the Black Hawk East campus.

The application process will begin in upcoming weeks through the foundation link on the school’s website.

“We’re excited about the River Bandits donation and the opportunities it will provide for a Black Hawk student,’’ Truitt said. “The chance to have the cost of a year of tuition paid for and to receive a paid internship would be very beneficial to a number of our students.’’

Heller said the Bandit Scholars program covers around $85,000 in tuition costs for Quad-City area college students annually, dollars raised through fundraising activities both in and out of season by the Quad-Cities team.

The criteria for selection include academic excellence, a background in athletics as a participant or in an auxiliary role, charitable activities and a loyalty to the Quad-Cities community and commitment to making it home.

“We want our scholarship recipients to go on and become productive members of the Quad-City community,’’ Heller said. “From the beginning, that has been our goal.’’

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