College Aid Plan Expected During "State of the State" Address

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According to the proposal, eighth graders would sign a documented pledge to keep their grade point average at or above 3.0 during high school, take college prep courses, and stay out of trouble.

In return, if they're accepted to one of Wisconsin's public universities and they tap out their available financial aid on tuition, state money would cover the rest.

Tony Beardsley calls the precident in this proposal high but attainable.

A pair of students at South Middle School in Eau Claire agrees.

"I think I'd do it if we get a chance," Tyesha Williams said.

"It's just being who I am," Brittany Landorf said. "Everybody wants to go to college."

When the Governor gives his address, school leaders hope his outline will show them how to properly track the students' progress.

"Grade inflation in all schools has been an issue and continues to be," Beardsley said.

Doyle says the plan is modeled after similar programs in indiana and north carolina, though many of the South Middle School kids will end up attending a school in the UW System, where tuition has already risen more than 40% during the last three years.

"It will take some resources, I think it's do-able," said UW-Eau Claire Financial Aid Director Kathleen Sahlhoff.
"Especially if all the partners come together and focus on this as an appropriate priority."

The part of all this that critics seem to be hung up on are details like where the money is coming from, and exactly how much it'll take to maintain this program.

Republican Assembly Speaker John Gard refers to Governor Doyle when he says "I guess he's hoping nobody adds up the cost," though university officials are ballparking it at 10-million dollars a year. An amount that Doyle says isn't too much to ask for.