Wisconsin public college targets low-income students - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin public college targets low-income students

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Outside look at Bascom Hall at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Outside look at Bascom Hall at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Empty desks fill a classroom. Empty desks fill a classroom.
Superintendent Troy Gunderson works on a computer. Superintendent Troy Gunderson works on a computer.
Madison, WI (WXOW) - -

Students from families who might struggle to pay college tuition can get some help through a new program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It costs about $26,000 to attend the UW-Madison per year, which is almost exactly half of the median household income in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced an initiative called "Bucky's Tuition promise." It gives students free tuition if they come from families making $56,000 or less. UW officials hope this ends the belief the college is too expensive and get more students applying. A local school superintendent applauds UW-Madison for the move. He hopes this pushes the state into looking at making college more affordable.  

"We just can't afford to have people with talent and skill who view the education system as locked out to them because they can't afford it," West Salem Superintendent Troy Gunderson said. "That's just intolerable. We need all the workers and people and citizens we can."

The guarantee starts in the fall. UW-Madison expects the pledge to cover more than 800 students costing $825,000 a year. Funding comes through private donations, not tax dollars.

We reached out to UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow says they would need big donors to offer a program similar to this locally.

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