PRESS RELEASE:Treasurer Godlewski & BCPL announce $1M for UW System Grants & Scholarships

Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski
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State Treasurer Godlewski & BCPL announce $1 Million for UW System Grants & Scholarships

This year’s distribution will be a record-breaking $1,025,000 from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands’ (BCPL) Normal School Fund to help make college more affordable and provide grants to UW System programs

MADISON, Wis. — Today, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands announced an over $1 million disbursement from the Normal School Fund for student scholarships and grants for UW System programming, which is the largest amount distributed in the fund’s history. In fact, the Normal School Fund generated no distributions as recently as 2008.

“As students look back on an unprecedented school year and make plans for the year ahead, I’m proud that we’re able to provide this record-breaking $1 million to help make college more affordable for Wisconsin students,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “Ensuring our investments are managed effectively so we can deliver a strong return is my first priority as Chair of the BCPL, and we will continue this work to ensure our beneficiaries can rely on funding year after year.”

One of the beneficiaries, UW Stevens Point, dedicates its annual funds to a number of programs to support environmental education, including developing curriculum for K-12 schools, youth programming at county forests, and professional development opportunities. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski joined Brian Sloss, Dean of the College of Natural Resources to discuss the program and impact of the funding. A video of that conversation is here.

“Thanks to funding from the Normal School Fund, the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point is able to provide a range of environmental education programs that benefit students, our communities, and our state,” said Brian Sloss, Dean of the College of Natural Resources. “We’re particularly proud of our ability to bridge education with real-world experiences, providing opportunities for students to grow as leaders in public policy, land management, and land-use practices.”

“During the many years I’ve served on the Board, I’ve been so proud of Wisconsin that we invested this money in the way that it could continually help the students of the university,” said Secretary of State Doug La Follette.

“This funding for scholarships and grants for programming is an investment in Wisconsin’s future,“ said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Lowering the cost of education for scholarship recipients can help alleviate the crush of student loan debt that denies economic security to so many, and it’s particularly important now, as families continue recovering from the financial impacts of the pandemic.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the financial security of many Wisconsinites, it is even more important the BCPL provide this record distribution that will help students complete their education and reduce the need for student loans. This distribution is split among four beneficiaries in the UW system; the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point’s environmental program, UW Extension, and merit-based scholarships for Wisconsin residents attending UW schools.

Background of the Normal School Fund:

The federal government provided Wisconsin with a grant of over 3 million acres of land, a majority of which were sold before 1900. A portion of these sales proceeds went to establish the Normal School Fund, which developed into an important source of funding for normal schools in Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin, as the successor of the original normal schools, is the beneficiary of the Normal School Fund.

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