We have learned a lot this past ten years, and continue to realize that we have a lot more to learn about helping young people stay in college and complete a college degree. We have heard from students who tell us that this grant has meant that they do not have to take out as many loans or work as much as they might have had to do and that they have been able to take advantage of more campus activities and maybe even study abroad for a semester. This is certainly reinforcing to the FFWS board.
Putting together the pieces to be successful.
However, we have also seen that the grant alone has not necessarily increased the number of students who have stayed in college and earned their degree. Some students have become ineligible for the grant by dropping out of school, or reducing their credit load, or transferring to other non-UW colleges. Some students leave school because they are unsure of what to study, or do not know how to navigate college, or have family or life issues that interfere with their ability to continue in school. What we have learned is that for many students and families, college attendance is quite complicated!
A mentoring program for new FFWS recipients started in 2015-16 on three UW campuses and now is available on ten campuses. The intent of the mentorship program is to support first year and transfer students so that they continue in college and complete a credential.
Preparing for many successful years ahead.
Going forward, we are closely watching post-secondary trends. We must be responsive to student needs if we want to meet our mission – increasing the number of Baccalaureate prepared adults in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a unique and wonderfully diverse
state and as we continue, we will keep learning how best to assure that FFWS students succeed at school and graduate with a college degree.