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be nice to your city clerk

Be Nice to Your City Clerk

In the first half hour, we talk to Lana Kropf, a 12-year veteran of the Wisconsin Clerk world, the current City Clerk for the City of Lake Geneva, and the Secretary for the WI Municipal Clerks Association. 

Then we talk to Helen Faith, Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid at UW-Madison, about Bucky’s Pell Pathway and Bucky’s Tuition Promise.

Guests: Helen Faith, Lana Kropf

Check out this episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Lana Kropf on What It’s Like To Be An Election Clerk

Lana Kropf is a 12-year veteran of the WI Clerk world. Currently, she is the City Clerk for the City of Lake Geneva and is serving as the Secretary for the WI Municipal Clerks Association. This upcoming election will be the 40th she has administered in her career. We talk to her about the craziness of Wisconsin elections, what’s changed since the 2020 election, and what you need to know ahead of the April 4th election. 

UW-Madison Expands Tuition Promise to Cover All College Costs for Low-Income Students

We talk to Helen Faith,  Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid UW-Madison, about Bucky’s Tuition Promise And Bucky’s Pell Pathway (and yes, they are different). 

You should listen to the segment but here are some FAQs first published in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What is Bucky’s Tuition Promise program?

Bucky’s Tuition Promise covers full tuition for Wisconsin students whose families earn below a specific income threshold. The cutoff to qualify began at $56,000 and now stands at $65,000. Nearly 5,000 students have benefited from the program since its 2018 launch.

What does Bucky’s Pell Pathway cover?

Tuition represents less than half the cost of attending UW-Madison for in-state students. Full financial need factors in those extra expenses, such as housing, meals, books, and a laptop.

Under Bucky’s Pell Pathway, the university guarantees it will provide enough in grants, scholarships, and work-study money — not loans — to cover qualifying students’ full financial needs.

Who qualifies?

About 86% of Bucky’s Tuition Promise students were already receiving additional aid beyond tuition, UW-Madison spokesperson Karla Weber Wandel said. But the model was operating behind the scenes as a pilot program to see whether the university could financially sustain it. With the formalized announcement, all Pell Grant-eligible Wisconsin students will be guaranteed to have their full financial needs covered.

Is Bucky’s Pell Pathway essentially a full-ride scholarship?

For many, it may be. But technically, depending on each individual’s circumstances, some students may have to chip in some money. For example, if a student studies abroad and picks a program where tuition is slightly more than UW-Madison’s, the student could be charged the difference.

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is being marketed as a “pathway” but not a “promise” to graduate debt free.

Who’s paying for these UW-Madison programs?

Bucky’s Tuition Promise operates as a last-dollar award, filling the gap between what a student already is receiving in financial aid from other sources — including state and federal tax dollars — and the full cost of tuition and fees.

UW-Madison is relying on private donors and other institutional resources, such as tuition, to fund both programs. No tax dollars are used.

Do other UW campuses offer tuition-promise programs?

In the 2023-24 school year, yes. New in-state freshmen or in-state transfer students at other UW campuses will qualify for the new Wisconsin Tuition Promise program if their family earns $62,000 or less. The program covers tuition and fees, but not additional expenses.

The Wisconsin Tuition Promise will operate similarly to Bucky’s Tuition Promise but a key difference is in how it’s funded. The UW System is picking up the estimated $13.8 million price tag for the first year of the program within its own budget. But UW System President Jay Rothman is asking state taxpayers to fund the program beyond that.

The Wisconsin Tuition Promise is a key priority for UW officials to advocate for in the coming months as the governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature debate what to fund in the next state budget.

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