Some Covenant Scholars get $250 a year for college - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Some Covenant Scholars get $250 a year for college

By Bob Schaper - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) - After four years of work, some Wisconsin Covenant Scholars will get $250 a year for college tuition.

At a public hearing in Madison today, officials said students from low-income families could get as much as $2,500 a year.

Bettina Billings, a pre-law student at UW-Madison, said grants are critical for many families.

"I think I would have gotten into college, because I've always tried to get good grades, but the grants I received were invaluable," she said.

Her mother, Sharon, said the grant amounts are too low, and that officials promised families would be taken care of if children upheld their end of the bargain.

Shannon Loredo, who directs the Wisconsin Covenant, says she's heard from a lot of parents saying the same thing, but that it was based on a misunderstanding.

The Wisconsin Covenant was never intended to operate in a vacuum," she said.

The Wisconsin Legislature approved $25 million for the first graduating class, which has about 17,000 students. The grant amounts could change, Loredo said, depending on how many students actually enroll in college.

Rolf Wegenke is president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He calls the Wisconsin Covenant a good program.

"It's very important because you look at what's happening in this state, first generation students, minority students, low-income students are falling behind," he said. "They have less educational opportunity than ever before."

Loredo said it was graduation from college that mattered the most.

"So we have some really exciting things happening at the UW system, for example. They're going to do some targeted programs for students who complete the pledge so that they not only get to college but they're successful when they get there and they graduate."

The plan now goes to the legislature which can suggest changes or approve them as is.

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