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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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UW-Madison debuts new in-state comprehensive financial aid program

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is a new financial aid program that aims to make attending UW-Madison more accessible for low-income, in-state students.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison rolled out a new financial aid program this year, Bucky’s Pell Pathway. An extension of Bucky’s Tuition Promise, the new program covers tuition and fees for qualifying students as well as housing, food, books and other educational expenses.

When choosing a college, most students are looking for somewhere that fits their academic needs, is in a location they enjoy and provides opportunities for success. For many students, there is another factor that trumps the rest: cost. 

UW-Madison has the highest tuition cost out of all UW System schools for both resident and non-resident students, which may deter would-be students from attending.  

“Many Wisconsin residents have the misapprehension that UW–Madison will be financially out of reach,” Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said in a press release.

One recipient of Bucky’s Pell Pathway, freshman Colin Montanye, has seen the impact of this firsthand. 

“Many of my classmates opted to attend either a technical college or another UW school simply because of the cost of attending UW-Madison,” Montanye said. To them, Madison is only affordable for students who “come from a wealthy family or have a surplus of scholarships.” 

Karla A. Weber Wandel, communications manager for UW-Madison’s Office of Financial Aid, said the new program solidifies UW-Madison’s commitment to providing “significant financial support” for Pell Grant-eligible students.

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is associated with Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a financial aid program in its sixth year which covers tuition and segregated fees. Bucky’s Pell Pathway covers students’ entire cost of attendance, including books and other associated expenses, after other scholarships and grants. 

To qualify for Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a student must have an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less, while Bucky’s Pell Pathway is granted to students who meet the requirements to receive the federal Pell Grant. These grants are awarded only to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need who have not earned a bachelor's, graduate or professional degree. 

Both programs are available to Wisconsin resident first-year or transfer students and provide coverage for 8 consecutive semesters, not including summer terms.

UW-Madison wants to spread the word about the new program. 

“Our team works closely with the team in the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions to get the word out to prospective Wisconsin students,” Weber Wandel said. “The team at OSFA also connects with high school counselors and other college access organizations [to] offer support through financial aid nights, workshops and one-on-one FAFSA advising.” 

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UW-Madison hopes to eliminate the misconception that attendance is always out of reach due to finances, and they aim to continue finding new ways to support low-income students as they pursue higher education. 

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