‘UpFront’: UW chancellors tout free UW-Madison tuition program for first generation students

Two University of Wisconsin chancellors say the new Badger Promise program offers affordability and access to a four-year degree.

“This is making UW-Madison affordable to a large number of students coming out of two-year schools,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who appeared on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” alongside UW Colleges and UW Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen.

The program will offer free tuition and fees to students who transfer from a UW two-year campus, or from liberal arts programs at select community colleges around the state, including Madison College and MATC in Milwaukee.

The students must be “first generation,” meaning their parents do not have four-year degrees, and they must have better than a “B” average. The students still would have to pay their living expenses.

Sandeen noted that 81 percent of students at the two-year campuses are working while going to school.

“These are Wisconsinites who have a dream, a dream of a University of Wisconsin degree,” Sandeen said on the show, which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Gousha also asked the chancellors about UW funding levels in the recently-signed 2017-2019 state budget. Both said they are pleased with how the system fared in the budget.

“I think the state has renewed it’s support for the university. We got a portion of the last cut restored — $50 million — we got additional money, salary increases for faculty and staff. We’re starting from a positive point, rather than a negative point in the future,” Sandeen said.

Gousha asked Blank about a provision in the budget that would require UW schools to monitor teaching workloads for faculty members.

“My faculty have a whole variety of different jobs, and teaching is only one of them,” Blank said, noting that faculty also do research, outreach, and some have administrative responsibilities.

“If we’re going to monitor workloads, I’ve been very clear that I’m going to look at total workload,” she said. “You’ve got to look at the totality of what faculty are doing.”

The chancellors also said the Foxconn development would create opportunities for university faculty members and students.

“This is going to help keep more of our out-of-state students here after they graduate, rather than going to Chicago or Minneapolis,” Blank said.

She also expressed hope that UW-Madison, as a top research institution, would be able to work with Foxconn on new technologies.

Also on the program, Steven Olikara, president and co-founder of Millennial Action Project, discussed his efforts to organize millennial-aged lawmakers in bipartisan caucuses, state by state. The new Wisconsin Future Caucus is part of that effort.

Olikara, a Brookfield native and UW-Madison graduate, said Wisconsin is the 19th state MAP has helped organize.

“We realized that unless we can build constructive bipartisan relationships, we won’t really move forward together as a state and a nation,” Olikara said.

See more from the show:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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