Doyle encourages students to sign Wisconsin Covenant

Governor Jim Doyle earlier this week called on ninth graders to sign the Wisconsin Covenant and ensure a spot for themselves in a Wisconsin college or university, provided they work hard during high school and meet certain requirements. Students have until September 30 of their freshman year to sign the pledge. Over 50,000 students from all 72 counties have already signed the pledge.

“The Wisconsin Covenant encourages students to start thinking about the grades they need, the classes they should to take, and the role they need to play in their community starting on day one of high school,” Governor Doyle said. “If students work hard and fulfill the pledge, we will make sure they have a place in higher education, a financial aid package based on their family’s need, and every student who completes the Covenant pledge and goes on to college in Wisconsin will receive a Wisconsin Covenant Scholar Grant.”

Students who participate in the Wisconsin Covenant will sign a pledge affirming that they will earn a high school diploma, participate in their community and be a good citizen, take a high school curriculum that prepares them for higher education, maintain at least a B average in high school, and apply in a timely manner for state and federal financial aid.

In return for fulfilling the Covenant pledge, each Wisconsin Covenant Scholars will earn a spot in either the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, or at one of the state’s 20 private, nonprofit and independent colleges. As students enter college, they may receive a mix of loans, grants, and work study opportunities based on their family’s financial needs.

In addition, every student who has signed and fulfilled the Wisconsin Covenant pledge and goes on to college in Wisconsin will receive a Wisconsin Covenant Scholar Grant for eight semesters. The grants will be distributed under a two-part award system that will allow the state to maximize the number of Covenant Scholars who can receive grants.

For each Wisconsin Covenant Scholar’s first four semesters, they will receive grants based on their family income and their financial need:

Students with the greatest financial need will receive $2,500 to help cover the cost of tuition $1,000 from the Wisconsin Covenant Scholars Grant program and $1,500 from the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation.

Students whose families have higher incomes, but still qualify for assistance will receive $1,500 or $1,000, depending on their family’s income.

Students whose families do not qualify for financial assistance according to the federal government will receive $250 for education costs.

In the third and fourth years of college, these specific dollar figures will be adjusted to ensure that each class of Covenant Scholars receives its entire $25 million allocation without overspending.

Governor Doyle has worked hard to make college more affordable and accessible for all students and their families.

Since taking office, Governor Doyle has tripled the amount of financial aid available to students. The Governor has also signed legislation to increase the maximum Wisconsin Higher Education Grant for UW System schools from $2,500 to $3,000 and has expanded the college tuition tax deduction.

The Wisconsin Covenant Partners, the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU), and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction have joined the state on the Wisconsin Covenant. Four years ago, the Wisconsin Covenant Partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding that commits to ensuring a place in higher education for Wisconsin Covenant Scholars. In 2007, the Legislature passed Act 20 to create the Office of the Covenant, and in the 2009-2011 State Budget, the Legislature created a $25 million annual permanent appropriation for the Wisconsin Covenant.

For detailed information on the terms of the Wisconsin Covenant and the Wisconsin Covenant Grant Program, visit: www.wisconsincovenant.wi.gov.