Scott Walker Short-Changes Financial Aid Programs, 41,000 Students Denied Grants This Past Year

Aug 28, 2014

Yesterday, our state got more bad economic news as Scott Walker’s own Department of Revenue announced a nearly $300 million shortfall. Walker’s cuts to college affordability programs were sold as necessary for the sake of fiscal responsibility. 

Not only does yesterday’s announcement expose the deceptive rhetoric from Scott Walker and Republicans, it heaps even greater culpability on Walker’s shoulders for the 41,000 students who didn’t get need-based financial aid this past year.

As student loan debt continues to be a burden on Wisconsin students and families, earlier this month the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) showed that tens of thousands of eligible students were recently denied state financial aid. 

The announcement from the LFB highlighted 3,581 UW students and 37,844 technical college applicants were denied financial assistance this past year due to a lack of state funding for the Wisconsin Grants program.

Walker’s $250 million budget cut to the UW System and 30 percent reduction in funding to the state Technical College System, as well as his short-changing financial aid programs like the Wisconsin Grants program have added to the challenge of financing a college degree.

The Wisconsin grants program has been around since the late 1960s, providing need-based grants to state residents looking to pursue undergraduate degrees in the UW System, Wisconsin technical colleges, state private and non-profit schools, and also tribal colleges.  

With tuition doubling in Wisconsin over the past twelve years, and requests for financial aid increasing as a result, Scott Walker and Republicans should have looked to shore up the coffers for a program which has helped send Wisconsinites earn degrees for over five decades.   

“Wisconsin hasn’t kept pace with the growing demand for financial aid, and it’s due in large part because of Scott Waker’s deceptive political games,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “Walker cut a crucial need-based program in the name of sound fiscal policy, but now we know 41,000 students were denied financial-aid and all we have is a jobs crisis and massive revenue shortfall to show for it.”