OVERVIEW

The Wisconsin Covenant program was designed to give middle schoolers a clear path to college—and hope when it comes to paying for it. Although closed to new students at the end of 2011, nearly 91,000 Wisconsin students signed the Wisconsin Covenant pledge over its five years.

A quick recap: Eighth graders signed pledges to be good citizens and do well in high school (B average or better). They also agreed to apply to a Wisconsin college and meet financial aid deadlines before graduating high school. The state recognizes students fulfilling their pledges as Wisconsin Covenant Scholars, and promises them a spot at one of 60+ Wisconsin colleges or universities. To help them pay, the state makes annual grants of $250 to $1,500, depending on the family's financial need, for up to four years of college over a five-year period. We supplement those grants by making extra grants of our own.

Our commitment to supporting Scholars who fulfill their pledges—the last of whom graduated high school and entered college in 2015—continues to this day. We have disbursed more than $21.5 million in scholarships as of August 1, 2018.

From day one, we've worked to help as many pledge-signers as possible get their grants. We've done this by informing students and their families about the steps they need to take, and by enlisting the support of the high school counselors and financial aid professionals supporting their educational journeys.

ISSUE

The state grant plus other aid, while generous, still falls short of college costs for many low-income Wisconsin Covenant Scholars.

SOLUTION

We continue to make extra grants available to help Scholars with the greatest financial need make up the gap between their financial aid and total college costs.

The amounts of both our grant and the state's grant are determined by the student's expected family contribution (EFC), the amount the family is expected to contribute toward college. The EFC is calculated using a federal formula once the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is filed.

Scholars with an EFC of less than $3,500 can receive an additional $1,000 or $1,500 grant from Great Lakes. When combined with the state's grant, a Scholar can get up to $2,500 per year, for a total of up to $10,000 over four years of college.

DETAILS

The following tables show how the State of Wisconsin and Great Lakes are working together to help Wisconsin Covenant Scholars pay for college and build brighter futures.

Full-Time Enrollment (12 credits or more)
Expected Family Contribution* State Grant Great Lakes Grant Total Annual Amount
$0 $1,000 $1,500 $2,500
$1 - $3,499 $1,500 $1,000 $2,500
$3,500 - $11,999 $1,000 $0 $1,000
$12,000 - $999,999 $250 $0 $250
At Least Half-Time Enrollment (6-11 credits per term)
Expected Family Contribution* State Grant Great Lakes Grant Total Annual Amount
$0 $750 $1,500 $2,250
$1 - $3,499 $750 $1,500 $2,250
$3,500 - $11,999 $500 $0 $500
$12,000 - $999,999 $125 $0 $125

*As determined by the U.S. Department of Education via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

To remain eligible for our grants throughout college, students must maintain their eligibility for the Wisconsin Covenant Scholars Grant from the state.

QUESTIONS

Contact the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board, at (608) 267-2206 or HEABmail@wi.gov.