The bipartisan supported Financial Aid Modernization Act, passed by the Wisconsin legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday, Dec. 6, will help students by making Wisconsin’s financial aid programs more user-friendly while aligning with federal financial aid requirements. The new legislation will particularly support economically disadvantaged students who enroll in college and pursue higher education.
Susan Teerink, associate vice provost for financial aid and enrollment services at Marquette, served on the collaborative work group and was critical throughout the legislative process.
This legislation is more than three years in the making. The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities has been working collaboratively with its partners from the Universities of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Tribal Colleges to prepare for the implementation of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Simplification Act that will take effect for the 2024-25 academic year.
The federal changes impact the state’s student financial aid program, known as the Wisconsin Grant, and necessitated changes to align Wisconsin statutes with the new federal law. In addition to alignment with federal law, the legislature modernized student financial aid programs for Wisconsin resident students.
“For students attending private, nonprofit colleges and universities in particular, the legislation eliminates the outdated formula that has been in Wisconsin statutes since the early 1970s,” Teerink said in a joint statement with Patty Taylor, senior director of Financial Aid and Educational Funding of Lakeland University. “These important changes provide for a more transparent formula, better recognizing the needs of today’s students.”
The legislation was led by Wisconsin State Senator Joan Ballweg (R – Markesan) and State Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville). The legislation passed the Wisconsin State Assembly 97-0 and the Wisconsin State Senate 33-0.