Information and tools to help Wisconsin students prepare for college just got a lot more accessible, according to a statement from Governor Scott Walker's office.
In a written release today, Jan. 6, Walker announced that the state has $2.8 million available to help kids plan their route to college. $1.8 million is from the US Department of Education's College Access Challenge Grant program, and another $936,000 is from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, a Wisconsin nonprofit.
“The single largest concern Wisconsin businesses are reporting is having a skilled workforce prepared to fill their job openings. Getting our students the right education and training beyond high school is critical to meeting this need,” said Walker in the statement.
Through Great Lakes, which administers the grant for the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the program offers college prep workshops, help filling out applications for financial aid and admission, prep classes for ACT and SAT tests, and other resources for students and their families. The program is targeted to students who are typically under-represented in college, like minorities and lower income students, but materials and classes are available for all Wisconsin students and their families.
Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) applauds these types of programs, but he thinks it's a little disingenuous of Walker to slash funding of state technical schools and the UW system on the one hand while accepting federal funds on the other.
"(Governor Walker) ignores the fact that his biennial budget slashed funds for Wisconsin’s Technical College System by 30 percent and cut more than $250 million from the UW System. His Administration has also recently proposed another $65 million in cuts from the UW System, which, thanks to Governor Walker, now faces a budget reduction twice as large as any in the System’s history," Mason told Patch in an email.
Saying that the biennial budget puts college further out of reach for greater numbers of Wisconsin students, Mason also points out that also means a less educated, less prepared workforce.
"Enabling Wisconsin’s youth to plan for college while simultaneously attacking our nationally-renowned higher education system is not the Wisconsin way. To ensure an excellent Wisconsin workforce in the future, we must do more than distribute federal grants to let Wisconsin’s young people dream of college, we must invest in our technical colleges and UW campuses to allow those college dreams to be realized," he concluded.