More colleges offer ‘promise’ plans

More colleges offer ‘promise’ plans

August 22, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


POPULAR WORD IN HIGHER EDUCATION TODAY. LAST WEEK, UW MADISON CHANCELLOR REBECCA BLANK ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR THE BADGER PROMISE, WHICH WOULD WORK LIKE THIS. A FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENT TRANSFERRING TO UW MADISON COULD GET ONE OR TWO YEARS OF FREE TUITION IF THEY AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE FROM A TWO-YEAR UW CAMPUS OR TECHNICAL COLLEGE PARTNER, AND IF THEY HAVE BETTER THAN A B AVERAGE. HOW TO PAY FOR THE PROGRAM IS STILL A QUESTION MARK. THE BADGER PROMISE IS THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF FREE TUITION PROGRAMS GAINING POPULARITY IN WISCONSIN. MADISON COLLEGE IS WORKING TO CREATE A “MADISON PROMISE,” WHICH WOULD MAKE THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF TUITION FREE FOR LOW INCOME STUDENTS WHO QUALIFY. AND AT THE MILWAUKEE AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE, THERE’S THE “MATC PROMISE,” SOMETHING WE TALKED ABOUT ON THIS PROGRAM A YEAR AGO. LAST FALL, NEARLY 1200 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO MET MODEST ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS, ENROLLED AS THE FIRST CLASS OF PROMISE STUDENTS. A SECOND CLASS IS CLOSE TO BEING FINALIZED. THE MATC PROMISE, WHICH IS PAID FOR BY DONORS, OFFERS FREE TUITION AND FEES FOR FIVE CONSECUTIVE SEMESTERS. AND IT’S ALREADY CHANGING THE FACE OF THE COLLEGE. THERE’S BEEN A SHARP INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS GOING STRAIGHT FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO MATC. THEY TEND TO BE FULL TIME STUDENTS, AND FOR EMPLOYERS, THAT SHOULD BE WELCOME NEWS. AN MATC SPOKESWOMAN SAYS THE FULL TIME STUDENTS CAN GET INTO THEIR CAREERS MORE QUICKLY AND HELP ADDRESS WORKFORCE SHORTAGES. IT’S TOO EARLY TO KNOW IF THESE FREE TUITION PROGRAMS WILL BE GAME CHANGERS. BUT IF THEY CAN FIND THEIR FINANCIAL FOOTING, THE POTENTIAL OF THESE PROMISES IS GREAT, ESPECIALLY FOR AN AGING STATE THAT NEEDS MORE COLLEGE GRADS — BOTH TWO AND FOUR YEAR — TO FILL THE JOBS OF TOMORROW. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US TODAY. I’M MIKE GOUSHA. I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT WEEK, ON “UPFRONT.”