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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Wisconsin Tuition Promise to cover the cost of low-income students at UW System campuses. 

Bucky’s Pell Pathway seeks to increase opportunity for students in financial need

The new program will provide full financial aid for eligible Wisconsin students.

In a Feb. 9 address to the Board of Regents, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin laid out her plan for a new tuition-assistance program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — Bucky’s Pell Pathway.

“We’re going a step further than Bucky’s Tuition Promise for Wisconsin families who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants. For these students, [the program] will cover all remaining financial need, after their Pell Grant and other scholarships,” Mnookin said. “That means not only tuition and fees, but housing, meals, books and additional funds that will allow these Wisconsin students to be involved and engaged in some of the many life-changing experiences this university offers.”

Funded through a “variety of institutional, private and external sources,” Mnookin said the program will remove barriers to education that plagued students on Pell Grants, a federal program providing up to $6,895 a year to support those with financial need.

“This program will ensure that our Pell-eligible Wisconsin resident students have a pathway to complete their four-year degree without needing to take on debt to cover their educational expenses,” Mnookin explained.

The program includes aid covering four years of full financial need for incoming freshmen, along with two years of aid for transfer students. Chadbourne and Waters Residence Halls have been designated as optional “affinity community options” for Bucky’s Pell Pathway members to live together.

The program is expected to benefit students across the state, especially those in rural areas. 

“Rural schools are doing a great job preparing students to be career and college ready or, moreover, future-ready,” said Jeff Eide, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance. “Bucky's Pell Pathway is another step in supporting the financial barrier students and parents may see to higher education opportunities.” 

Included in the program are optional funding opportunities for involvement in the UW-Madison community. Along with available summer financial aid, students receiving Pell Pathway funding are provided scholarships for studying abroad. Students also have priority access to the Office of Student Financial Aid’s Success Services, along with monthly workshops through the program.

“High education in any chosen field is more of a necessity than ever before. It is critical that we continue to find avenues to support the financial needs of students,” Eide explained. “The Bucky's Pell Pathway is one more great example of higher education creating a path to help students succeed.”

The aid will be awarded automatically to students based on information provided through the FAFSA. Students with questions can reach out to for more information. 

“Students need to see the path to higher education, and Bucky's Pell Pathway helps them see beyond the financial barrier, which in turn helps them focus on learning,” Eid said. 

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Jasper Bernstein

Jasper Bernstein is news manager for The Daily Cardinal. He previously served as the associate news editor, covering city, campus and breaking news. Follow him on Twitter at @jasperberns.

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