Students who are high-performing may be receiving scholarships worth $5,000 per year if they choose to study on one of Wisconsin’s public universities under a Republican Bill. Word got out on Tuesday about this news which they say is to keep the top students from going elsewhere.
While the intention of the lawmakers seemed good, some on the other hand are questioning them on how they plan to pay the new scholarships, which is believed to be funded right out from the proceeds of the sale of public lands from one state agency to another.
With the legislation, the Department of Natural Resources will be required to spend tens of millions of dollars to buy more than 70,000 acres of property which is owned by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. According to a former head of the board, most of these have no significant value and other prospective buyers have already passed on these.
Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, the authors of the said bill, are claiming that the sale would generate $80 million, which will be enough to create an endowment that can fund $5 million per year in merit-based scholarships. The program would be able to sponsor 1,000 in-state student at the University of Wisconsin System institutions where their standardized tests and grade-point averages, regardless of the families’ financial capacity, will be taken into account.
August says that this is their way of trying to keep the best and brightest in the state – to give them UW tools.
UW System President Ray Cross and state Treasurer Matt Adamczyk who is a member of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands showed their support for the legislation at a news conference on Tuesday morning. Cross told how the UW is already competing with private and public colleges that are beyond Wisconsin’s borders that lure students with attractive packages. He says that they need to counter those offers. Cross also claims that they are losing many students and this is a way to keep and retain them.