- Wisconsin lawmakers declined to fund an expansion to a free that would have allowed low- and middle-income students to attend any University of Wisconsin System campus tuition-free.
- The legislature’s Republican-led Joint Committee on Finance $39 million over two years when Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, requested the initiative.
- The now-defunct proposal would have replicated — a program at the state’s flagship institution, the University of Wisconsin-Madison — at all UW campuses.
UW-Madison’s promisefrom households with an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less yearly to attend the institution tuition-free. It started in the fall of 2018 and covers four years of school for first-year students.
As with many free college programs, Bucky’s Promisewhich considers other forms of financial aid before paying any remaining tuition. Last-dollar programs can be less expensive for than their first-dollar counterparts, which do not consider other financial assistance.
Interim UW system President Tommy Thompson, a former Republican governor of Wisconsin, asked for money inin August to extend the program to all UW institutions. It was part of a budget request appropriations for the system, amounting to $95.7 million more in Wisconsin’s biennial budget.
Evers backed the request, including the $39 million for the program. But lawmakers on the finance committee removed the , which eventually passed the legislature. Evers signed of the budget earlier this month.
A potential barrier to growing the program is that other UW institutions have higher. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a larger body of students who demonstrate financial need and a smaller revenue base than UW-Madison, an official from UW-Milwaukee . , Bucky’s Promise covered 923 new students, the largest cohort yet. At that time, more than 2,500 through it.
A spokesperson for the UWrequest for comment Thursday. from Thompson and Edmund Manydeeds III, president of the UW system’s board of regents, thanked officials for “providing significant investments in the university’s mission.”
Tuition-free college programs have seen renewed national interest, including President Joe Biden,to make two years of community college accessible across the U.S.
And they have cropped up in other states, particularly as the nation recovers from the economic turmoil of the pandemic. Virginia in Marchfor students in high-demand fields in the state, while Michigan this year began to residents 25 and older.