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Board Report #00-15

Addendum

2001-03 Biennial Budget Issues for Consideration

 

Increase Maximum Award for Wisconsin Tuition Grant

The Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) Program provides grant assistance to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half time in degree or certificate programs at Independent colleges or Universities throughout Wisconsin. Awards are based on financial need and partially based on that portion of tuition in excess of UW - Madison tuition. Grants range from $250 to $2,300 per year. Eligibility cannot exceed ten semesters.

The Statute indicates a maximum Wisconsin Tuition Grant of $2,300 per academic year and $1,150 per semester. The maximum was last increased in 1998-99 from $2,172. Prior to 1998-99, the last maximum grant adjustment occurred in 1986 when it went from $2,078 to $2,172. During the 1998-99 academic year, 9,406 students received a Wisconsin Tuition Grant. The average grant was $1,923. Currently over 80% of the grant recipients show eligibility for the maximum $2,300.

It is because the majority of the program's recipients are receiving the maximum grant that it is becoming more difficult to distinguish the neediest students, who should receive larger grants, from those who show less need. In essence, the grant is losing its effectiveness of providing the greatest assistance to the neediest student.

Should an increase in the maximum WTG be pursued?

Expand and Increase Maximum Award for Minority Undergraduate Grants

Awards under the Minority Undergraduate Grant Program are made to resident minority undergraduates, excluding first year students. The student must be enrolled at least half-time at an Independent or a Wisconsin Technical College institution. According to the statutes, a minority student is defined as a student who is an African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Southeast Asian from Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam admitted to the U. S. after December 31, 1975. Awards are based on financial need with a maximum grant of $2,500 per year, which can be received for up to eight semesters. The University of Wisconsin System has a similar program for students attending those institutions called the Lawton Grant.

During the 1998-99 academic year, 354 Wisconsin Technical College students received on average $994 grants under this program. That same year, 271 Independent College and University students received on an average $1,263. A total of $693,960 was awarded to all recipients in 1998-99. If funds were available, best projections indicate that an additional $900,000 could have been spent beyond the $693,100 allocated for 1999-2000.

Based on projections, in approximately 2017 our minority population will become our majority population. The question has been raised, "will our future majority residents be educationally prepared?" Colleges and universities around the State see a need for increasing the maximum and the overall funding in addition to expanding the eligibility to include first year students. This would allow not only the retention of today's minority students but would also provide a mechanism to recruit students.

Should the Minority Undergraduate Grant be expanded and maximum/funding be increased?

Increase Maximum Award/Funding for Minority Teacher Loan

The Minority Teacher Loan (MTL) Program provides loans at five percent interest in amounts of up to $2,500 per year (with a maximum of $5,000 total) to Wisconsin resident, minority, undergraduate juniors or seniors. Recipients must be enrolled at least half-time in programs leading to teacher licensure at an Independent or University of Wisconsin Institution. According to the statutes, a minority student is defined as a student who is an African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Southeast Asian from Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam admitted to the U. S. after December 31, 1975. The student who participates in this program must agree to teach in a Wisconsin school district in which minority students constitute at least twenty nine percent of total enrollment or in a school district participating in the inter-district pupil transfer (Chapter 220) program. For each year the student teaches in an eligible school district, 25% of the loan is forgiven. If the student does not teach in an eligible district, the loan must be repaid at an interest rate of 5%.

During the 1998-99 academic year, 127 students received on an average $1,833 in loan assistance under this program. A total of $232,852 was awarded to all recipients in 1998-99. If funds were available, best projections indicate that an additional $240,000 could have been spent beyond the $240,000 allocated for 1999-2000.

The MTL is also tied to the concern that we may not be sufficiently meeting the needs of the future (similar to the concerns indicated under the previous point related to the Minority Undergraduate Grant). MTL, however, is specific to training minority teachers. K-12 schools with greater than 29% enrolled minority students or schools who participate in the inter-district pupil transfer program have indicated that an enormous need to educate more minority teachers exists. Enrollment at Milwaukee Public Schools in 1998, for example, consisted of over 68% minority students. The same year, just over 21% of the teachers came from minority backgrounds. By increasing the maximum award and funding, the gap between minority students and minority teachers would decrease.

Should the Minority Teacher Loan maximum/funding be increased?

 

Board Report #00-15

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