In his budget plan, Governor Jim Doyle promises to protect education.
“We're off to a good start, that all students from Wisconsin no matter where they go to school can look forward to some help.”
Rolf Wegenke Ph.D., President/CEO of Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities ( WAICU ), says he's pleased with the proposed 3% increase in the student grant fund for the state's private colleges.
“The main thing that we're emphasizing is always the students, and there is an increase for all students in their financial aid whether they attend a private college, a UW campus or a technical college campus.”
Considering the stories of doom and gloom in this recession, Wegenke ( pronounce ) says education leaders had braced for cuts. He says students had feared the worst — their needs have increased as their parents lose jobs and homes.
One significant increase in the Pell Grant Program comes from the federal level. “And then there are relatively smaller increase for all students in the state-funded financial aid programs, but they're still significant considering the state has a $5.7 billion deficit and we're very grateful.”
If a student is enrolled in any of the UW campuses, the Governor wants to “hold harmless” those students with family incomes under $60-thousand. Any tuition increase would not effect those students. That doesn't apply to students going to private or tech schools.
Even though Wegenke is happy to see an increase in aid rather than the anticipated cut in this tough economy, WAICU will continue to push for equity in financial aid for all students regardless of which Wisconsin college they attend.
NOTE: The Wisconsin Covenant would receive $25-million in 2010-2011. Students attending the state's private colleges, tech schools or universities would be eligible for a share of that funding.