Many fortunate students receive Fund for Wisconsin Scholars grants

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By Susan Pohorski

College Promise programs are creating a lot of buzz throughout the country. President Obama has proposed to make two years of community college free for responsible adults and several Wisconsin technical colleges are offering Promise programs to meet students’ unmet financial needs. However, many Wisconsin students have benefitted from another source of financial aid since 2007.

In 2014-15 the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS) distributed $8,564,804 to 2,631 qualified students at University of Wisconsin (UW) System and Wisconsin technical colleges throughout the state.

Founders John P. and Tashia F. Morgridge established the FFWS endowment to help make college more accessible and affordable for Wisconsin students. They hope to increase the number of college graduates in the state.

No application is necessary for FFWS grants. Eligibility is based on these criteria:

1.     Student is a Pell grant recipient

2.     Student is recent graduate of Wisconsin public high school

3.     Student attends University of Wisconsin (UW) or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) school full-time

Eligible students are entered into a random selection process conducted at the Higher Education Aids Board. FFWS gives the funds to the UW system colleges and universities and Wisconsin technical colleges and admissions offices distribute the grants as part of financial aid packages. The FFWS grants can be added to state and federal grants the student already receives.

Students must remain enrolled full-time to continue to receive FFWS grants. This requirement improves the chances that students will continue their studies and complete their degrees. Students who maintain their eligibility can receive grants for up to 10 semesters.

Retention rates for grant recipients between the first and second semesters have remained between 84 and 90 percent. The rate increases slightly with each new grouping that comes through.

If your student is attending a UW System university or college, or a Wisconsin technical college he or she could be a lucky recipient of a Fund for Wisconsin Scholars grant.