The University of Wisconsin-Madison will begin offering free four-year tuition for students from low-to-moderate income families it was announced yesterday. The program, called “Bucky’s Tuition Promise,” pledges free tuition for eight semesters of in-state, incoming freshmen from homes with less than $56,000 in family income. The program will also be available for four semesters for transfer students.
Tuition at UW-Madison is $10,533 a year for in-state students. Chancellor Rebecca Blank said that some high school students are not applying to the University because they feel it’s unaffordable. Blank hopes Bucky’s Tuition Promise will help to shatter that perception.
“Many low- and middle-income families in Wisconsin simply don’t know whether they can afford to come to UW-Madison. Indeed, if they just read the popular press about student debt and sky-rocketing tuition their assumption will be that they can’t. We want to make it very clear to low- and moderate-income families in Wisconsin that we’re going to do everything we can to make this an affordable school,” a statement issued by Blank read.
Officials put the cost of the program at about $3.3 million annually once four-classes of students are enrolled. The University plans to cover the cost of the program with private gifts – no state tax dollars will be used. Students will still be allowed to pursue scholarships, loans and other form of financial assistance. Funds from the program will be used to cover any shortfall students have.
Tuition assistance programs like this have been gaining in popularity as a way to combat falling matriculation in the face of soaring tuition costs. Other major state universities like Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern have begun offering similar options.