State Issues

Wisconsin Grants

The Wisconsin Grants are WAICU’s number one public policy priority.

This we believe:

  • Financial aid works.
  • Increasing educational attainment is key to advancing economic growth, balanced budgets and positioning Wisconsin as a leader in the Knowledge Economy, and for civic and cultural advancement in Wisconsin.
  • There is increasing student need.
  • State funding for student aid is inadequate.

Financial Aid Works

Education beyond high school is a critical foundation for individual economic success.  The Wisconsin Grants equalize opportunity for low and moderate income students to choose the kind of higher education that is right for them. A study performed by the College Board in their Education Pays 2013 Report found that during a 40 year full-time working life, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients are 65% higher than the median income of high school graduates.  College graduates will contribute 80% more in taxes over their lifetimes than those without a college education.  Additionally, because college graduates generally earn more, have greater financial resources and are more likely to be employed, they make fewer demands for needs such as unemployment compensation and healthcare.  

Increasing Educational Attainment is Key to Economic Growth

The Wisconsin Technology Council in its 2015 White Papers entitled “Investing in Next–Generation Jobs” endorsed an increase in Wisconsin Grants funding.  In its 2015 White Papers, the Wisconsin Technology Council writes that “demographic trends show that Wisconsin faces a growing talent shortfall across all fields” and that “aid to students is an investment in human capital and Wisconsin’s competitiveness.”  Additionally, Competitive Wisconsin in its first “Be Bold” report strongly endorsed student aid.  The “Be Bold” report included a recommendation to “raise the percentage of four-year degree holders in the state to a level that puts Wisconsin in the top tier of states, based on the number of working adults who have at least a baccalaureate degree.”  They also recommend “preserving Wisconsin’s tradition of maintaining affordability and access to college through targeted investments that provide adequate capacity at college campuses and adequate amounts of need-based financial aid for students.”  Competitive Wisconsin also called for Wisconsin to “produce 175,000 additional degree holders to place Wisconsin in the top 10 states in the country.”  Having financial aid available for Wisconsin students will allow them to achieve the best-possible education, graduate, and build a stronger Wisconsin workforce.  

There Is Increasing Student Need 

The number of students applying to WAICU members, a Wisconsin Technical college or UW System campus, who could not afford to contribute anything to their higher education, increased from 36,425 in 2007-08 to 91,521 in 2012-13, an increase of 152% over that period (Higher Educational Aids Board). This reduction in what is referred to as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and means that affording education has become a greater challenge for more and more low to middle income families in Wisconsin. 

State Funding for Student Aid is Inadequate

The inadequacy of state funding is demonstrated by the fact that the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) made grants to 68,055 low-income Wisconsin students in all three higher education sectors, but turned away 48,088 fully qualified (both financially and academically)students (from WAICU, UW, and WTCS) because funding was inadequate.  Additionally, Wisconsin spends less than 1% of its taxpayer – supported budget on student financial aid.

The Wisconsin Grants Campaign

WAICU has launched the Wisconsin Grants Campaign. Please visit the website to learn more about the importance of student financial aid and the critical role it plays in higher education attainment. 

Targeted Aid

Wisconsin Grants are only available for Wisconsin students attending a Wisconsin college or university. View the infographic to learn how an investment in student aid is an investment in everyone’s future.

Wisconsin Grants Facts