UW-Madison students in Bascom lecture

The UW Board of Regents approved a resolution Thursday calling for an increase to funding for need-based scholarships.

Wisconsin should add $12.8 million over the next two years to a grant program that helps low-income students afford college, the University of Wisconsin System’s governing board said Thursday.

The UW Board of Regents approved a resolution requesting an additional $6.4 million per year in funding for the Wisconsin Grant program, which provides need-based scholarships to thousands of state college students.

The request, which was approved during the Regents’ meeting Thursday at UW-Milwaukee, will now be sent to the state Higher Education Aids Board, which administers the Wisconsin Grant.

It will be up to lawmakers to decide in the next state budget whether they will fund the increase. A spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker said he will consider the request.

UW officials say the increase is necessary to ensure college is in reach for students and to reverse a decline in the value of the Wisconsin Grant.

High demand and insufficient funding for the grant has led the aids board to reduce the average award students receive from $2,161 six years ago to $1,773 in the 2014-15 school year. That decrease has come as the cost to attend UW System institutions has risen.

The funding increase UW requested is meant to return the average grant to $2,161.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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