In the Fall 2018 semester, WAICU launched its new Student Ambassador program on four member campuses. WAICU Student Ambassadors are selected through a competitive interview process and serve as leaders who advocate for support for Wisconsin Grants, the state’s primary need-based financial aid program for Wisconsin students attending private, nonprofit colleges or universities in Wisconsin. (There are also Wisconsin Grant appropriations for UW System and Technical College students.)
Since the beginning of the program, WAICU Student Ambassadors have organized events on campus to promote financial literacy and to help their fellow students to better understand student financial aid. These campus events also included civic engagement components, such as signing a petition, writing postcards to legislators, and creating a poster with students’ statements in support of Wisconsin Grants.
In his 2019-21 budget proposal, Governor Evers has called for an additional $17.4 million in funding for Wisconsin Grants for all sectors. In April, WAICU Student Ambassadors will visit their elected officials at the state capitol to share their experiences on how student financial aid has made a difference for them and for students on their campuses. Funding for Wisconsin Grants has received bipartisan support.
Recent national estimates show that those in the highest family income quartile are five times more likely to attain a bachelor’s degree by the time they turn 24 than those in the lowest family income quartile (58 percent vs. 11 percent). Needbased financial aid to students is a critical measure to ensure that students who are academically qualified - regardless of their backgrounds - have the opportunity to pursue higher education.