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Wisconsin Tuition Promise to cover the cost of low-income students at UW System campuses. 

UW System announces Wisconsin Tuition Promise for underserved Wisconsinites

The University of Wisconsin System announced the Wisconsin Tuition Promise Wednesday, a program that will allow first-generation and low-income Wisconsin students to attend the UW System’s 12 universities for free. 

Based on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Bucky’s Tuition Promise, this initiative targets underserved Wisconsinites whose gross income is less than $62,000. The program will begin in the fall of 2023. 

According to UW System President Jay Rothman, an estimated 8,000 students will benefit from the system-wide program. 

“The benefits of a college education are unassailable,” Rothman said in a system release. “A college degree needs to be within reach for every Wisconsin citizen as a path to a better life, and the Wisconsin Tuition Promise will provide these opportunities. It is also how we can close the skills gap that now limits Wisconsin’s potential to thrive in a global economy.”

Wisconsin residents that file FAFSA and have a family income less than $62,000 will be considered for the inaugural program. First-year students will be considered for eight semesters while associate degree-seeking and transfer students will be for four. 

Eligible students will be awarded an average of $4,500 over four years. 

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to increase the amount of Wisconsinites who graduate with bachelor’s degrees. 

Fewer low-to-moderate-income and first-generation students are attending UW universities, according to the system release, despite a tuition freeze placed since 2013. 

Along with the expenses of tuition, students have other monetary responsibilities. In a 2020 UW-Madison Geography Department study, most students found $500-$799 to be the most affordable price range for an off-campus bedroom. The median price, however, is $940.

“Keeping our universities affordable and accessible is a priority, and thanks to the funding we received from Governor Evers, we are freezing tuition this coming academic year,” Rothman said in a statement.

Bucky’s Tuition Promise has provided relief for thousands of UW-Madison students since 2018. This past year, the inaugural class of approximately 600 students graduated from the university. Students have said the tuition assistance has helped their families and attracted them to the university. 

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