An End to the Wisconsin Covenant and Changes to Reciprocity

The Joint Finance Committee met on Tuesday and voted to support Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to do away with the Wisconsin Covenant. The program offers financial assistance to needy Wisconsin students who enter an agreement with the state in eighth grade and maintain the grades necessary for admittance to a Wisconsin college or university.

The committee also voted unanimously to change the state’s tuition reciprocity program with Minnesota. Wisconsin and Minnesota have long enjoyed tuition reciprocity, and beginning in 2008, Wisconsin students received a state subsidy to make up the gap resulting from Minnesota’s higher tuition. Current students and those enrolling this fall will be held harmless until 2015.

Prior to committee hearings, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepares budget papers designed to help legislators learn about each particular issue. These papers give an overview of each issue, with the the budgetary and policy implications. The paper concludes by listing motions for the committee to consider, which often include the governor’s original proposal, maintenance of current law, and one or more alternatives. The paper discussing the Wisconsin Covenant is here, and the alternatives for the committee to consider are listed on page 6.