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Making a college education accessible to all. Madison College Scholars of Promise hosts “Apply Day” March 1


Since 2017, the Madison College Scholars of Promise has been helping area graduating high school seniors who have the aptitude and motivation to complete their college education but lack financial resources. On Tuesday, March 1, the Scholars of Promise “Apply Day” event at Madison College Goodman South Campus will give students assistance with submission of all materials required to become a Madison College Scholars of Promise student.

“We are hosting the event at South Campus which is a more central location spanning the Madison College school district. We are having this event to support students and their parents or legal guardians through this process of attending college,” Shanai E. Kaashagen, program manager for Scholars of Promise for Madison College, tells Madison365. “We know that it can be overwhelming and challenging at some points and we want to ease that process for our students.”

The program’s goal is to remove financial barriers for promising students. It pays qualifying students’ tuition and fees (not covered by grants and scholarships) for up to six consecutive semesters. Since its creation in 2017, Scholars of Promise students have received nearly $1 million in funding.

“The Scholars of Promise program is deeply rooted in our mission to provide open access to quality higher education,” said Dr. Jack E. Daniels III, president of Madison College, announcing the initiative back in 2016.

The program is for all graduating students in the Madison College school district which includes over 60 high schools.

“The Scholars of Promise program at Madison College started with its first group of students in the fall of 2017. The program was created to provide opportunities for promising high school students in the Madison Metropolitan School District that are facing financial barriers to attend college tuition-free,” Kaashagen says.

The program is able to do that through generous donations to the program. “One hundred percent of the funding to support students comes from donations, which is phenomenal,” Kaashagen says. “They had a very large campaign for this program prior to the first group of students starting.

“Outside of the financial support that students receive in this program once they are accepted, they also receive academic support. This is hands-on, wrap-around support for students – academically, professionally,” Kaashagen adds.

The Scholars of Promise program has also created a partnership with UW-Madison – the Promise to Promise agreement.

“Students that are accepted and go through the Scholars of Promise Program at Madison College and graduate and transfer to UW, once they are accepted UW will cover the cost of their tuition, as well. Up to two years,” Kaashagen says.

“The idea is that students can get their associate’s degree — if that is what they want — and if they want to get their bachelor’s degree, they can get that entire thing tuition-free,” she adds. “There are requirements for the program, but that is the goal: to help students achieve the academic and professional goals they have set for themselves without the concerns of how they are going to pay for it.”

Kasshagen, who was a first-generation college student herself, says that “70 percent or more of our students have parents or guardians who have not gone through this experience.”

“So it’s important for us to support them and to support their child and let them know what to expect,” she says. “At the event, when students arrive they will receive a step-by-step guide for what they need to do to apply to Madison College and Scholars of Promise, but, additionally, we will provide resources to that parent, as well.”

Scholars for Promise Apply Day will help prospective students with the application process including Madison College application, student account activation, Scholars of Promise application, FAFSA and more.

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“We know that working with the high school population that we need to sell the benefits of this program not just to the students, but to the parents, as well,” Kaashagen says. “So we really want to make sure that the parents are well-informed on the process their children will be going through.

“This program has been fantastic. It’s just great to see the progress of the scholars including that first cohort that has gone through the entire process and has graduated from UW-Madison,” Kasshagen adds.

Madison College will host Scholars of Promise Apply Day on Tuesday, March 1, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Goodman South Campus, 2429 Perry St. The registration deadline for Apply Day is 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23. For more information, contact Brittany Knuteson at [email protected] or call (608) 246-6036.