Think way back to the eighth grade. Do you recall signing the Wisconsin Covenant? Well before you answer yes or no, let me refresh your memory as to what the Wisconsin Covenant is and whether it pertains to you.
So… what is it?
The Wisconsin Covenant is an initiative that was started by Governor Jim Doyle so that students could get help paying for college. The Wisconsin Convenant is something you would have signed in the eighth grade. Fall 2011 was the last opportunity for eighth grade students to sign the covenant; the program is now closed to new signatures.
What are the benefits?
Good question. Well if you successfully achieve the six goals outlined below and complete the application process on time you will be eligible for a $250 – $2500 grant based on your EFC as determined by your FAFSA.
However, there are a few requirements that you need to be aware of in order to get the most out of the program – and to remain eligible.
Because the program is designed to help students have greater access to higher education, it requires completion of the following six goals:
1. Graduate from a Wisconsin high school.
2. Maintain a “B” average while in high school.
3. Take college prep classes.
4. Demonstrate good citizenship and engage in activities in the community – completion of 30 documented (with valid signatures) service hours.
5. Apply for state and federal aid via the FAFSA (see FAFSA blog for more info).
6. Apply to a college or university in Wisconsin. (Four-year, two-year, public or private.)
Alright. At this point in our discussion, these things should be starting to sound familiar. And hopefully you have come to the realization of whether you are a Wisconsin Covenant participant or not – aka whether or not you signed the agreement.
Yes, I’m a Wisconsin Covenant signee. Now what?
Well, in order to keep you informed about what you should be on the lookout for, I’ve made a handy-dandy checklist for all you high school seniors. If you’re still in high school, you can simply work on completing the six goals above!
Senior Year Wisconsin Covenant Checklist:
- August – November: Begin your final year of high school and apply to colleges – Yay!
- December: Receive your Wisconsin Covenant confirmation packet in the mail.
- January – March: File your taxes and once completed, file the FAFSA. While FAFSA deadlines differ between schools, UW Oshkosh’s priority deadline is March 15. Wisconsin Covenant students must have it filed by the confirmation paperwork deadline, which this year is March 31.
- March: IMPORTANT! Submit completed confirmation paperwork (received in December) by March 31. Miss the deadline and you’re application will be denied. Word to the wise: don’t wait until the last minute. Also, be sure to submit your FAFSA by March 31 to remain eligible for Wisconsin Covenant benefits.
- March – May: Finish your senior year strong. Focus on keeping your grades up because you’ll need that mentality as you begin college. You must maintain “Successful Academic Progress” in college to remain eligible for benefits.
- June – August: Soak up some sun and relax before heading off on a new adventure, aka college! (Yeah. WooHoo!)
I’ve outlined most of the important information about the program including requirements and deadlines, but you may still be left with some questions of your own. Feel free to contact Justin Stigler, UW Oshkosh’s Wisconsin Covenant Coordinator, with any questions or concerns. You can also check out UW Oshkosh’s website or the Wisconsin Covenant website for forms and extra information.
Think about it. All you have to do is set a few goals for yourself early in your education in order to set yourself up for a successful future. You can do it. I have faith in you! Shout out to all the seniors heading into the home stretch – stay focused and you’ll be just fine, college is right around the corner!
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