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Board of Regents urges funding for student veterans and financial aid programs (Aug 18, 2006)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 18, 2006

Contact: Doug Bradley
dbradley@uwsa.edu
(608) 262-5061

Board of Regents urges funding for student veterans and financial aid programs

MADISON-The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday encouraged the state of Wisconsin to support programs that would assist veterans and students from low-income backgrounds as part of the state's 2007-09 biennial budget.

The Board approved resolutions Friday to support the proposed Hold Harmless Tuition Grant and the Veterans' Tuition Grant. Funding for both grant programs is expected to be included in the 2007-09 budget request of the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB), but the programs would directly impact UW students.

"The UW's 'Growth Agenda for Wisconsin' is designed to increase access and affordability for lower-income students and nontraditional students, such as those who have served in the military," said Board of Regents President David G. Walsh. "These grant programs are essential for providing educational opportunities to these students."

The Hold Harmless Tuition Grant would ensure the combination of state and federal financial aid covers tuition and fee costs for lower-income students now enrolled at UW campuses. The grant would precede the proposed Wisconsin Covenant, a financial aid program which would provide funding to cover college costs for students from low-income backgrounds who take rigorous high school coursework and prepare themselves for college. Because the first students eligible for the Wisconsin Covenant would not enroll at UW campuses until 2011, the Hold Harmless Tuition Grant is designed to provide similar financial support for current students.

The Board also urged the state to modify the UW-Wisconsin Higher Education Grant to provide a "dollar for dollar" increase in the grant to match any future tuition increases.

The Veterans' Tuition Grant would follow the state's approval of a 100 percent tuition remission for Wisconsin veterans, known as the Wisconsin GI Bill (2006 Wisconsin Act 468).

"Wisconsin has a proud tradition of supporting veterans who seek higher education after defending this nation as part of the military," said Regent Thomas Loftus. "We can honor the sacrifices they have made, and benefit from their unique skills and perspective, by providing student veterans with both financial and academic support."

The Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 2007-09 budget request for each of its 26 campuses and through its statewide UW-Extension. The request included some funding for staff to support and educate students eligible for the Veterans' Tuition Grant program and the Wisconsin Covenant.

Titled "A Growth Agenda for Wisconsin," the budget request approved Thursday would improve access, affordability and service across the system, and if fully funded by the state, would keep the average tuition increase to 2.5 percent over the biennium - the lowest recommended tuition increases in at least 25 years.

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Related: Read a summary of the August 18 Regents meeting