1.  What is the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS)?

The FFWS is a private foundation established in 2007 by a founding gift of $175 million from John P. and Tashia F. Morgridge. It provides need-based grants to talented graduates of Wisconsin public high schools attending a public college, university or technical school in Wisconsin. The grants are gifts and do not need to be repaid.

2. Why are we doing this?

We want to help make college more accessible and affordable for Wisconsin students.

The growing affordability gap means that many able students simply cannot afford college. Many others who do attend accrue overwhelming debt. The purpose of the FFWS is to increase graduation rates while reducing the financial barriers to college and lightening the debt that most Wisconsin students incur during their college years.
 
3. Is the fund accepting additional contributions?

Yes. The initial gift to the fund is intended to be a catalyst for future growth. Information on how to make tax-deductible donations to the FFWS may be directed to Mary Gulbrandsen, Executive Director of the Fund, at 608.238.2400.

4. Is this only for students attending public institutions?

Yes. These grants are for graduates of Wisconsin public high schools who are attending a public post-secondary school in Wisconsin. Because of the cost difference between public institutions and private schools, the grants will have a greater impact in the public schools. In the future, the FFWS may be expanded to include Wisconsin’s independent colleges.

5. How is eligibility determined?

Eligibility is determined by each UW and WTCS college or university using the FAFSA and other campus information.

6. When were the  first grants awarded?

Approximately 2,000 grants worth $5,000,000 were awarded in the 2008–2009 school year. We estimate that about 3,000 grants per year will be awarded through the colleges to eligible students.

7. What is the amount of the grants?

The grants will be $1,800 at UW colleges and WTCS institutions and $4,000 per student, per year, at four year comprehensive institutions.

8. Can eligible students receive grants during each of their college years?

Yes. Students who continue to have need and meet the FFWS criteria will automatically receive the FFWS grant each year. Students may be eligible for grants for a maximum of 10 semesters.

9. How will students apply for these grants?

Students do not need to apply for FFWS grants. They are eligible to become a grant recipient based on criteria established by FFWS, which include being a PELL recipient, recently graduating from a public high school and attending a University of Wisconsin (UW) or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) school full-time. The grants will be awarded to eligible students through a random selection process conducted at the Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB). These grants will be in addition to the state and federal grants that many students are already receiving. The grants will be distributed to eligible students through the University of Wisconsin System two- and four-year colleges and the Wisconsin Technical College System schools.

10. Will the FFWS have any direct contact with grant recipients?

Yes. After grants are awarded, the institutions will provide the FFWS with the names of each recipient. We hope to build a relationship with each scholar.

11. How does FFWS invest its money?

The Board of Trustees will manage the foundation’s investments with advice from outside money managers. As a 501(c)(3), we will follow the appropriate tax laws.

12. Is it expected the state will reduce its financial aid to post-secondary schools as a result of these grants?

No. We believe the state will continue to fulfill its commitment to students by increasing grants for post-secondary education. The people of Wisconsin know that maintaining a strong educational system is critical to growing Wisconsin’s economy.

13. How many Wisconsin residents currently have college degrees?

About 23 percent of Wisconsin residents over age 25 hold a college degree. We hope that the FFWS will help to increase that number.